The Bird-Ghost

Like winter breath on a pane of glass
sprayed with fixing medium,
like a burglar’s greasy handprint
or white ectoplasm trace,
that bird of prey had hammered hard
against the built environment.

You could pick out its bent beak’s blunted face
and from a slow-motion film,
the flicker of that wing feather stain.
A smudged bird, arrested in headlong attack,
its output of energy equal to its impact
on the unseen or unforeseen
(our bedroom window pane),
it had made such a stunning mark.

by Peter Robinson

‘The Bird-Ghost’, is copyright © Peter Robinson, 2012. It is reprinted by permission of Shearsman Books from The Returning Sky .

Notes from Shearsman:

Peter Robinson was born in Salford, Lancashire, in 1953, and grew up mainly in Liverpool. He co-edited the magazines Perfect Bound and Numbers while helping organize various Cambridge Poetry Festivals and a Poetry International at the South Bank Centre. His many volumes of poetry include a Selected Poems (2003), Ghost Characters (2006) and The Look of Goodbye (2008). He was awarded the Cheltenham Prize for This Other Life (1988). Both The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems (2002) was a recommendation of the Poetry Book Society, and The Greener Meadow: Selected Poems of Luciano Erba (2007) received the John Florio Prize in 2008. Other publications include four volumes of literary criticism, the most recent being Poetry & Translation: The Art of the Impossible (2010), various edited collections, anthologies, and The Complete Poems, Translations & Selected Prose of Bernard Spencer (2011). The poetry editor for Two Rivers Press, he is Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Reading.

The Returning Sky is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for the first quarter of 2012. You can read more from the collection at this link (pdf), and find out more about Peter Robinson’s life and work from his website and this interview at the Poetry Kit website. You can also hear him read from his work at the Archive of the Now website (search for Peter Robinson).

Shearsman Books is a very active publisher of new poetry, mostly from Britain and the USA, but also with an active translation list. You can learn more about the publisher here, and find Shearsman on Facebook.

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