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This poem is taken from PN Review 150, Volume 29 Number 4, March - April 2003.

Two Poems Bernard O'Donoghue

Sedge-Warblers at Beckley, June 2002

for John and Jean Flemming

This terrible summer, we must make the most
of every sunlit evening. So we walked
by the new fibre track above the reeds,
mocked by their extraordinary goatsong,
so unlike the song of birds. And such odd
accompanists: free of all shyness,
they'd start to call when we came within earshot,
untroubled by our talk or peering for them,
and stop, disappointed, as we left.
Sometimes we would watch the reeds swaying,
sure sign of their presence, a sign of life,
but never the birds themselves: strange acrobats
that made their long poles waver at the top
by swinging at their base. Or so it seemed.
...


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