from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Friday, 30 December 2016

Lost Species poem 10: Matt Merritt

I'm enjoying the fact that almost as many men as women have sent in poems for my consideration. Here's another fine poem: understated, subtle, and surprising.

Song For A Slender-billed Curlew

You’re not the first ghost to walk
in the full glare of the noonday sun.
You won’t be the last. At best,
only ever a bird that belonged

to another world, the one
to which our imagination
aspires. So, an artist
in Andalucia draws

the apparition
that intruded upon
his afternoon, but was gone
when the cameras clicked.

In Crimea, the pools and runnels
of a trackless taiga, whose own
existence can only be supposed,
babble down through cloud.

From Druridge Bay
to the Hortobagy, birdwatchers
make of the familiar
whatever they will,

and the slim beak
of each new moon
passes without word,
for good or ill.

© Matt Merritt

This poem first appeared in an email newsletter for the conservation charity Wader Quest. Matt's website is, and Wader Quest is


  1. They just keep coming - these beautiful, disturbing poems. How I wish I could write like this!

  2. Yes, I admire them enormously too! There are more... that possible anthology seems to be raising its head again...


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