Long-Tails – a poem by Julie Sampson


These late season winter snows
…..we don’t know,
crane our heads
trying to see
top of the swaying tulip tree –
is that it, tiny, snug in the forked v-
cavity of the highest branch?
Archetypal, these birds are
exemplary recyclers,
everything in the garden
…..has to go –
all the delicacies of her peccadilloes,
her most elusive cryptic signs and sigils,
her mossy rites, silks, cocoons, spiders.

Just as the smallest matryoshka
the tiny egg’s kernel’s set
in the core of the green gold-wrapped nest,
…..warp and weft
weave a multilayered text,
lichen-lore zaps along branches of the oldest apple-tree
and spiders pluck harps
on arbour’s skeined rose.

We do know
moving in and out
the cold doors
of our own comfort zone
that tucked away, high, hidden
in the long-tailed tits’ iconic nest-home,
is the sanctum,
our wild birds’
of Hours.


In recent years Julie Sampson‘s poetry has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Shearsman, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Journal, Amaryllis PoetryThe Algebra of Owls, Molly Bloom, The Poetry Shed, The Lake, Amethyst Review, Poetry Space and Pulsar. Shearsman published her edition of Mary Lady Chudleigh; Selected Poems, in 2009 and a full collection, Tessitura, in 2014. A non-fiction manuscript was short-listed for The Impress Prize, in 2015 and a pamphlet, It Was When It Was When It Was, was published by Dempsey and Windle, March 2018.

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