Photograph – Copyright Dan Wesker 2010


We come, a spillage of school trips and coach parties, to look at the black thumb-print of a lonely bird muddying the horizon. The cheerleaders can ra-ra-ra all they want but what difference does it make? His beak’s a syringe to your soft wet eyeball. You’ve enough crossings-outs to make a fence with, all that’s left is the rip in what’s not there.

The atlas reads like a sonnet. If only you could understand the moment something upped and went. This black bird folds his wings behind his back and says I’m the flight away you never took, I’m all your hard edges, you at your most simple, I’m your innocence. There’s a sting of cheap alcohol on his bird breath.

I’m not the one in a cage! He yells,

jabbing his rigid little wing against your cheek bone. Soon all you’ll have is this caught-on-repeat recollection of a drunken blackbird spouting truisms on a rock. Off you shuffle, past the bird-shit and, even if you can’t see it, behind the high buildings, the stone angels with their chipped wings, the horizon is still there, a slow wave advancing its way towards you.

Poem – Copyright Naomi Woddis 2010



  1. Hey Naomi

    thanks for this – the poem reverberates round and round in my head, along with the photo that inspires it. Love seeing these these collaborations, and also a pleasure reading poetry of depth and intelligence

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