Janet Daniel – A Murmuration

A Murmuration


A winter sun sinking, binoculars twitching,
fingers cupping fat lenses, green necks stretching,
post-tea families pulling children from the RSPB shop complaining,
late arrivals running, faces fraught with anxiety asking,
‘Are they here yet?’     Gasping,
‘Where’s the best place to view?
On the hill?  By the reeds? Near the woods?
I don’t know. They never do the same thing twice.
A flicker across the top of tall alders, down to graze
among sheep with ‘seen it all before’ expressions.
‘Look Up!’
The clans are on the move, starting to gather;
from the Transporter Bridge, the pylons of Pill,
Dock Street-upper and lower,
the roof of St Barnabus-now an arts centre- and the bus stops in town.
‘Look! Over there!’
Mudflats wobble like blancmange in the Bristol Channel-
a Welsh Caribbean-silver, shivering.
Heads roll and loll, turn left, right, up, down,
spectator sport, a moving picture in pointillism.
‘How do they do it?   Why do they do it?’
Birds balloon and breed in a sky-shoal life of their own,
bigger and bigger, twisting, turning, counterpointing,
faster and faster forming giants that echo the world below.
‘What can you see?’
‘A monster cod, parading poodles, a double-helix, a piñata.’
‘More, we want more.
without warning the piñata collapses,
A swell of Starling sweets drop,
float into the reeds of the Gwent Wetlands,
their bed secured for another November night.


Janet Daniel has been writing poetry for the past ten years, and has a Cert in Higher Education in Creative Writing from the University of Cardiff, and a Masters from the University of Wales.
She writes a blog recording her journey as a writer and reviewing local arts events.

5 thoughts on “Janet Daniel – A Murmuration

  1. The syntax in this poem creates a wonderful sense of movement. And I love the local references – spending, as I do, quite a bit of time in the cafe at Barnabus Arts Centre! A beautiful poem, Janet.

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