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The Birds of Fire

A triptych of prose to the robin, wren, and goldfinch.

The robin plucks midges from the air above the stream like it’s catching its breakfast with chopsticks. From a standing start the robin launches its entire self at its prey, its body licking like a flame, transforming into something other than bird as its wings fan and splay in a symphony of arc and bend.

Within about one square foot of space and within an increment of time each element of the bird’s anatomy is thrown into a position that seems counter to its movement and bodily structure and for a split second of a split second the robin’s red chest is set ablaze.

A bird always half seen yet with a song that burns like a furnace, the lion of the hedgerow. It moves like a spark, popping from the deepest embers of the smouldering Spring The wren darts incessantly, when it does manage to sit still its little tail stands upright like a match and twitches, while its beak scissors wide open to release its roar.

Like a spark, the little wren gives little sign of it’s approach, it;s movements for the most part beyond our perception, like the shapes you see when you turn out the light, forever caught in the peripheral.

Known as the flame of the forest, or the light of the woods the goldfinch is a splash of fire against the green. their flight is jet propelled by a flash of yellow, like a fragment of the sun’s light got caught in its underwing.

They flicker in “Charms” and emanate all the brighter for their multitudes. As they gather to rest on the splays of new growth they ignite a series of beacons along the top of the hedgerows that guide Spring into summer.

Matt Witt 22/05/2020


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Matt Witt

Author Matt Witt

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