Winter tree
You stand with antlers raised
They say
‘Where are your leaves?’

Then to their neighbour
‘All his birds have flown   –
What kind of music
Stirs in dry dead wood?’

No more songs for free
Is what they mean   –
Give us all
A climate of amusement from machines

But birds have private language
When no-one is about
Their discourse goes like this   –

‘Absence is the mystery
Of Love’s perpetual presence’



Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer






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