Caught by the River

Mistle Thrush: a poem by Paul Farley

3rd November 2019

The first park is always the fastest park,
parked under a cloudless
sky and fastened in memory
with stakes and ropes. The word picnic
is a tablecloth thrown onto the grass
attached to the word green.

The word idyll waits out of earshot.
A faun in the fountain burbles.
There is Sunblest. There is Golden Wonder.
And then, thunder.

Now the park begins bristling under that sky
which has darkened. This is the future.
This is counting towards the sound.
These are the particles rising
like the bead in your cream soda.

This is the mizzy beginning its song
from the top of the highest tree.
This is a drone shot of a thunder god.
This is a dangerous place to be

an I, sings the mizzy—I, a copper crozier.
I, a silver vaulting pole.
I, a suit of platinum armour.
I, a boom of gold.

The mizzy, with its restraining order
on humans, the wariest thrush.
The mizzy, that’s working the park pretty loose.
The day is all coming unstuck.
Where a moment ago you were in a safe place
now there’s distance everywhere you look.

The mizzy will only allow you so close.
The thunder follows the flash.
The words that you’re learning all carry a charge
and attract or repel. Bring it on,
the mizzy sings, holding its nerve,
flying in the face of us.


Taken from Paul Farley’s new bird-centric collection The Mizzy, published by Picador. Order your copy here (£14.99).