HUMMINGBIRD – a poem by Matt Duggan


We plant another god in our city
let lungs scarred breathe again –
for man’s sorrows are clearly
written on the broken heels of dying Pan.

Flights of birds – drifts in open space
blades of turpentine twist the wood;
soil erodes mouths of ancient tribes –
hummingbird remembers what was once home.

The woodland is bare & fox tunnels
are the blood on its surface – white roots of fern & oak
clamped with metal teeth – silver jaws;
locked on the ribcage of Artemis
her leaves once orange autumnal dustings.

Now dragon skins a coated season in mud
where birdsongs can no longer be heard
only a slight echo of what lingered in ears before.

The arc of our wealth is the trade –
burial of woodland a square of green
pied piper would come to our aid
wearing pinstripe suits and a clipboard;

one hand held long fingers of disappearing gold
in the other a reaping hook made from oils.
Where will the wild ones sleep tonight?


Matt Duggan was born in Bristol 1971 and now lives in Newport, Wales with his partner Kelly. His poems have appeared in many journals including Potomac Review, Foxtrot Uniform, Dodging the Rain, Here Comes Everyone, Osiris Poetry Journal, The Blue Nib, The Poetry Village, The Journal, The Dawntreader, The High Window, The Ghost City Review, L’ Ephemere Review, Confluence, Marble and Polarity. In 2015, Matt won the Erbacce Prize for Poetry with his first full collection of poems Dystopia 38.10 (erbacce-press). Matt won the Into the Void Poetry Prize in 2017 with his poem, Elegy for Magdalene. Matt has previously published two chapbooks: One Million Tiny Cuts (Clare Song Birds Publishing House) and A Season in Another World (Thirty West Publishing House). In 2019 Matt was one of the winners of the Naji Naaman Literary Prize (Honours for Complete Works). His second full collection Woodworm (Hedgehog Poetry Press) was published in July 2019.  His latest chapbook collection “The Kingdom” (Maytree Press) came out on the 10th April (2020). Matt is working on his third and last full collection ‘Lemminkainen’.

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