Guest Poem by Paul Surman

Paul Surman lives in Oxford where he is a member of Back Room Poets. His work has been published in numerous magazines, including Acumen. A first collection of poems Places was published by Oversteps Books in 2018, a second Seasons of Damage and Beauty was published by Dempsey and Windle under their Vole imprint in 2021. A third Collection is due, also from Dempsey and Windle, in September.


You have come to rest on a stave
of the low wooden fence yards
from our window, a desperate
look of tired ferocity in your eye.

Next to our neighbour’s forsythia,
your feather cloak’s duller shine.
You look haughty, like an old
nobility fallen on hard times.

I don’t think you see me. Your stare,
rigidly formal, looks past this town,
this hemmed-in street, to farmland
and woods of your great estate.

Now it seems, life is hunting you,
your regal plumage hangs low
and loose, as if you’ve lost a battle,
and after a rout are on the run.

Your shape and colour of surprise
will no longer drop from the skies,
feather and claw, a precise swoop,
the sudden weightlessness of death.