‘Blackbird in Winter’ by Roy Marshall

Blackbird in Winter

He’s on a branch above my head
velvet feathers at touching distance,
yellow ringed eye locked to mine.

Is an alarm call frozen in his breast,
the urge to fly curtailed by heavy air,
or is it to preserve energy and heat

that he keeps still? Can he see in me
a lack of threat, recognise the need
to move slowly through slow air,

to sing a sub-song, out-live
short days by swallowing dark,
holding on to what light there is,

braced against the grip of a wind
unchallenged and un-breathed
since it skimmed down from the Urals?
(from The Sun Bathers, Shoestring Press)
Roy Marshall is a nurse, househusband and writer. His pamphlet Gopagilla is available from Crystal Clear Creators and his debut collection, The Sun Bathers, was published by Shoestring Press in 2013.