Photograph courtesy of John Yunker, Unsplash
“I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.”

Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird



He’s there again on the apex of the gable,
telling the world he’s got the title deeds
to number 14. There’s a boundary, not marked
on any map but he knows where it is,
so stay outside. Unless of course you’re a female
looking to share a very des.res. And raise some chicks.

Was there ever a warning sign as musical as this?
Not the baritone drone of the collar dove
or the obligato chatter of the sparrow’s octet,
not even the starling’s jazzy chuckling
somewhere between a sax and clarinet

No, none of these but the fluted mastery
of notes and scales, the end stops of our waking day
as he rings down the dark-blue curtains of the sky
and echoes curl inside the silent leaves.

© 2020, Frank McMahon

FRANK McMAHON‘s debut collection, At the Storm’s Edge, was publish just this past January by Palewell Press. Frank is a frequent contributor to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt. He was born and raised in Birkenhead, Merseyside. After graduating he began his career in Social Work/Welfare as a practitioner and manager, working for three Local Authorities, British Red Cross and Action for Children. He also served for nine years as a school governor. His last full-time post was to set up and manage a SureStart Children’s Centre. “There is nothing like working with and for young children. They constantly teach you to look at the world with fresh eyes and be open to new experiences.” Frank is married with two children and six grandchildren. When not writing (plays, a novel, short stories and poems) he enjoys walking, (The Cotswolds are his new playground); his allotment (save for the weeds), golf, chess, travel, music, and counts himself fortunate to have some wonderful friendships. He is a member of Somewhere Else Writers Group in Cirencester, whom he thanks for their patience in reading and critiquing his work. As part of that group, he works with Corinium Radio on programmes and plays.


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