Rookery – a poem by Julie Sampson



I know it’s dark
and hard
in there
the rook canopy.

Usually, when I visit,
lay flowers,
I weep for your
unfulfilled lives
snuffed in earth,

this time,
singing yellow
in Zephyrus’ wind,
tell their own story

and above,
in the tall firs
your son planted
fifty years ago
missing those from our first home
just crow miles
back up the road

……….and dive,
fractalling deep
into graves.

you must be taken back
to those mornings,
spring-filled, post-war years –
when, in the kitchen, you’re stirring spoons of rennet
into warmed milk in pans,
and outside,
shooshing heifers from the shippen
out to cud, you’re looking forward
to the afternoon
when, hand-in-hand,
you’ll leave through the lych-gate frame
under your canopy of rooks,
stroll away from the wild ridge
down Bourchier’s Hill
to the lure of the folk chatting below
by the submarine trees,
in the depths of your Lyonnesse town.

Note: ‘Lyonnesse town’ is North Tawton, named as such by Ted Hughes, in ‘Error’ in Birthday Letters.


Julie Sampson‘s poetry is widely published, most recently, or forthcoming, in ShearsmanMolly Bloom, Allegro, Dawntreader, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Journal, Noon , Poetry Space Algebra of Owls and The Lake. Her poetry collection Tessitura was published in 2014 (Shearsman).See

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