Away With The Birds

Stephen Kingsnorth

What is the prompt that will stir you -

so different from my starting point -

when brain storage affects our train

and our cognition leaves us blank?

For you the age now to define

what’s counted from your prime as worth,

when mine is childhood, marks of note,

an endless list, onward from breast.


Though buried under sands of time

I recall scenes of multitudes,

five thousand, swards upon the hill,

the songs of Sunday School intoned,

more music, tunes familiar,

with well-being in ringing ears,

though term uncoined when we sang.


Why is it this theme taken hold?

My sister lies with fluency,

with tales, adventures flowing free -

though not a word do I believe,

amongst my nods and smiles, agree,

because her world is fantasy,

but truth from her imagined soul.


There’s no torture, her roaming mind,

indulgent scenery in play

or work, relationships and birds -

her love in ornithology

has taken flight, on wing, you see.

The castles in the air she builds

she visited, stood battlements,

before the knight she well describes

brought rescue, on white charger rides.


The past is vivid, happens now -

it’s tense, in that voice I hear,

today and yesterday as one.

How can I argue, logic rules,

when dreaming spires are in the skies,

and she so happy in the lies

that truly are so real to her?


So I build up as manifest,

the precious cargo I must hold,

ready, unladen, when I’m old.

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, most recently Academy of the Heart and Mind, The Parliament Literary Magazine, Poetry Potion, Grand Little Things, The Poet Magazine.

His blog is at

Stephen Kingsnorth

Nanette Avery