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The Brown Feathered Bird Sings the Blues

By: Juanita Cox

About The Poem

The Brown Feathered Bird sings the Blues was written during lockdown last year and emerged out my solitary walks along the River Thames in Thamesmead. Lockdown meant that I was often alone but also that I had time to go on walks and reflect on my surroundings. I was struck by the presence of a lone bird sitting on rusting barbed wire instead of on the branch of a tree. I became aware of the industrial London landscape, the human waste and yearned to be “re-wilded”.

The Poem

In a yellowing and russet autumn,
easterly winds release long whistles,
scatter ripples across the waves.
Riverside reeds bow in deference.

A small lighthouse stands alone,

On a scarred outcrop. Iceland
trolley, burnt out motor-bike,
careless b l o a t e d cat, drape
seaweed rocks.

The thicket of trees are long gone,
replaced by razor-wire fencing;
corroding steel, this city’s rustic.
Yet still I sing even as light slips

toward night,

high-perched, high-pitched trill
of unwavering hope, compelling chirrs
for the re-wilding of barren steelscapes
and styrofoam-free crevices

where a whole other world
of in(ter)sects s(tri)ve
to live. To live.
To be/e alive.


To be/e alive.


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