Caught by the River

Corr Réisc

22nd September 2012

A poem by Richard Skelton.

Pulled along
unseen, familial lines,
the bird glides
with rigid, graceless wings.

Eventually it will ground,
this grey, silent kite.

It cannot endure on memory
and repulsion alone.

This shy bird is corr réisc,
the marsh bill,
but it could equally be called
an dealbh srutha,
the river statue,
or an chloch a stánann,
the gaze stone –
crouching, motionless,
on the furthest reaches of the boat cove.

But sometimes
it breaks its vow of silence –
a premonitory, piercing cry.

And then truly it earns the name
corr scréachóg,
or screech heron.

From The Flowering Road, part of the Field Notes series by Richard Skelton and Autumn Richardson. Published by Corbel Stone Press and on sale here.