Notes of Solidarity is a daily series of mini-essays, poems, and reflections on the Russian war on Ukraine by some of Wales’s leading literary figures. To close our series, we share a poem, “The Starling“, from playwright and former Welsh Poet Laureate, Gillian Clarke.
You cradle the broken starling the cats caught
and brought home from the night. You heard it cry.
It trembles in your cupped hands, its heart wild,
beak parted, a star in its black eye.
Lost from a murmuration flying west
migrating from a bitter Russian winter,
ice-wind-driven across a darkening world.
‘There is enough evil’ you say, words
of a poet from another time, another war,
‘….enough evil in the crying of wind…’*
Its heartbeat slows, calming in your hands,
warmed, still, beak parted, a refugee
with a chance of life. You carry it into the night,
crossing the dark fields to set it free.
* WB Yeats
You can see all contributions to our series, Notes of Solidarity, here.
To find out more about the work of Gillian Clarke visit her website.
Recommended for you:
Cath Barton reviews The Map and the Clock, Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke’s anthology of poetic heritage of Britain and Ireland.