Irish Writing: Roilbeard Shanahan

"Violence at the Egg"

Flurried matted natal down feather listings   A Nest   now blood congealed on the twig
The last flight of the leaving parents winged shadow   remains as if in silhouette
Troubled ants cover it    hold up broken shells as mort flags
These ants shadow lay as lace on a before first flight fledgling dying
Feather lice dislodge to devour this sad bird
Amniotic visions   grey shapeless flight falling   permeates the atmosphere

Receding branches   perches retract   further into treeless gloamings
Leaden as stone   forever grounded to the soaring out of sight flock
No diurnal sun hovering   wind blown   seed cracking seed   insect scratch
As the bird shudders   shell crumbles egg teeth   jewels in feathered decay
The least damaged eye stares into the abandoned   nest    in memory
The other dangles above a broken wing   gazing out past unnatural hues
Blood and loss beak   spits grotesque to shape a sound   and try's to tweet

In the sacred calcium eggs in clutch    we future nestlings
Under the cooing comfort   of the hens covering wing
We laid in shared incubation  in dried saliva and grassy mud
The lift   the gliding   flapping   hovering   our future
Our eyes grow larger than our brains   we are life cycle

Heavy brooded rain   shells sprinkled   moonlight specked
Thunder drones across the flight ribboned sky   the nest warm
Heads hidden beneath the wing   statue like to the storm
Lightning strikes the shells
Conjoined   beaks crack the shells   fledglings are born into nesty love
Rostrum' s snapping at air   deluge deflected by parental wings
Fervid joy   night fallen    swaying in feathered tenderness
From the first pangs   our future warbling throats were stuffed

Lids open    vision came   all sight was enthralling to the edge of the nest
All fledglings in non rival   to each other the egg  balance    the sacred egg
Together shuddering our bodies merged    we thought there flew a hawk
Beaks rise in natures order   mother gives one to one to one
Wing in wing our feet create stairs   in turn we see there is more than sky
An apology for expanding    nature creating our separation   wing growth
One arises opens their wings    tumble over   the dawn and the down
Thermals swirling   the breeze's nervous whispers   unsettles  the tree
Leaves quiver  eddy in whirlwind    float as wooden mourners around the nest
Father flown   his frame feathers now as moonbird beak star    filled spilling
Mothers eyes looking back nest view    fledglings at nest leaving
The thrusting first fledgling suspends on the edge    jerking back strikes the sibling

Blood spurts into the surprised sibling eye   lid rebounds horror
Skull chips    a flailing storm of pecks   falls to nest bottom
Feet of my flyers   squash as falling branches   eye to eye the looking through gaze
Broken body twitches moribund on twigs   broken shell and excreta rise   votive
Blowflies now accusers   cast maggots as stones at the flying away assailant
Mother frozen in expected grief   sparkled sky   the departing  blood birds
Brush in haste her side      father gone    lost in his uncaring plumage
The corpse so still    as only left life can be
Lice ants nature raise the corpse
Damaged spirit flares ..........

Roibeard  (Robert) Shanahan

I am of Irish descent, family from Bantry, West Cork
I am a painter, a poet and a playwright
For me life is compassion and expression
I reside in Tasmania in a little seaside village

I was awarded high commendation in the WB Yeats poetry prize Australia

Irish Writing :: Table of Contents, May 2017