Jean Atkin is a poet & writer in education & the community. Her second collection How Time is in Fields was published in 2019 by IDP. She is Troubadour of the Hills for Ledbury Poetry Festival & BBC Poet for Shropshire for 2019 National Poetry Day.
His hands were folded. He seemed
to be waiting. I saw him lower
his eyes to earth
as I landed, a brother at each wing tip.
Behind us the sea lough tolled with the bell.
When it had stopped, he spoke.
I remember the coarseness of his robe,
his mudstained feet. His voice was narrow
as reeds. Rain fell.
We heard him out.
I searched my brothers’ eyes: and then
we spread our wings. I felt the loosening
of flight feathers, saw them fall;
I watched smooth plumage snow
from thinning bones.
I folded, for the first time, shriven fingers
and with my stranger’s hand I touched – and found
skin slack on flesh and desert dry.
My hair curved round me
long and faint and grey.
White down fanned to ground.
Shameless, my favourite brother stood
and stared into the sky. I saw him lank
His eyes filled. I took his hand.
The monk prayed. Rain fell.
Poem published: Poetry Ireland Review 106 (2012)
How Time is in Fields, 2019, IDP, 978-1-912876-07-5, £9.99
Not Lost Since Last Time, 2013, Oversteps Books, 978-1-906856-3-8-0, £8
The Dark Farms, 2012, Roncadora Press, 978-0-9571994-2-2, £9
Lost at Sea, 2011, Roncadora Press, 978-0-9535804-6-0, £10
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