after ‘Birches’ - Robert Frost
To Jeremy and Christine Auld
You must have seen him when he was a fixture
and no one asked what pin he swivelled on
and just accepted he was swinging, rooted
on the spire, but earth’s a better place
for love, so slicing through the annex roof
he bent to join the nave of the cathedral
and what a lovely copper stippled smile
he is with scalloped feathers, viewed up close.
The inner dome of heaven hadn’t fallen
and I would say the universe conspired
with the same pains you’d use to fill a cup
up to the brim and even above the brim
to see no one was killed or cut or wept
the smallest tear, unless the Truth breaks in –
co-incidence, my dear. And it is good
the insurance will cover the cost of scaffolding
to put him back where seagulls come and go
and play in batches, learning all there is
to learn about not launching out too soon.
Reproduced. with the permission of the author. from her new collection Ingathering, published by the ever-splendid Templar Poetry (ISBN 9781906285685). I'll be reviewing the collection for Iota later in the year.