It was winter, near freezing,
I’d walked though a forest of firs
when I saw issue out of the waterfall
a solitary bird.
It lit on a damp rock,
and, as water swept stupidly on,
wrung from its own throat
supple, undammable song.
It isn’t mine to give.
I can’t coax this bird to my hand
that knows the depth of the river
yet sings of it on land.
Taken from Kathleen Jamie’s Selected Poems, newly published by Picador Poetry – available here, priced £14.99.