‘A March Nest’: a poem by Gregory Leadbetter


    A March Nest


A tilt of the light and I wake with a twig in my mouth,
building between the shoots and reeds I’d laid
in the quick of instinct, at work between the light.
Last night I met my mate, who laid her shape
to mine and gave my breath a tide as full
as any moon can hold, which rises as I build.

I met her as the space I braid to bear
the shape I dreamed, who shared my body’s warmth
and weave: moss from ruins worked from stone:
the jade of lichen flourished from a fallen wand:
leaves that gave the dead their shade before
they fell, sown as gifts from the old year:
the yarn of grasses wound with fur and hair
bright with the animal they have shed: feathers
lighter than infant breath, bound with the thread
of a cobweb teased from a pool of thorns: daub
drawn from a spawning pond, wattled with the silk
of a sow-thistle, a seed-head blown by the wind:
the down of lamb’s ear carded by bees: the soft
gold of morning cast in a lost ring.

The bulb of the sun swells in the earth I work
above, turning the air to smooth the cup
for the clutch that makes a chorus in my blood
like dawn. Calls pair across the waking
wood and ply between my own, for life
to come: the sung to, like the singer, unseen.


Gregory Leadbetter

About Gregory Leadbetter

Gregory Leadbetter is the author of three poetry collections: 'Maskwork' (Nine Arches Press, forthcoming 2020), 'The Fetch' (Nine Arches Press, 2016) and the pamphlet 'The Body in the Well' (HappenStance Press, 2007). His book 'Coleridge and the Daemonic Imagination' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) won the University English Book Prize 2012. He has published widely on English Romantic poetry and thought, twentieth-century and contemporary poetry, and written poetry and radio drama for the BBC. He is Professor of Poetry at Birmingham City University.