Bird Poetry


Patrick's Bird Poetry

  • Patrick and Bird Poetry

    Patrick has been a keen bird observer since walks with his father from a very early age. Always fascinated by the way birds behave, Patrick has tried to capture the essence of their character in his bird poems. He has also developed a talk on poetry of birds that he has presented to senior citizen groups locally in Morningside.

    Among a long list of poetry sources, Patrick is particularly keen on the Rialto. Rialto has been called ‘a terrific magazine’ by Seamus Heaney and ‘Simply the best’ by Carol Ann Duffy. It was founded with the concept of an inclusive and diverse world of poetry, open to experiment in form and content, and the current editors strive to keep this vision alive. The magazine appears three times a year with some fifty poems.

    The Rialto recently ran a Nature and Place poetry competition.

    Rialto website announces Nature and Place poetry competition

    A fine collection of bird poetry was published by Penguin books a few years ago. Edited by the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage and Tim Dee, it is called simply The Poetry of Birds.

    Cover of "The Poetry of Birds"

  • The Oystercatcher and Me

    That oystercatcher knew my father
    My father knew that oystercatcher.
    In fields behind Acorn Lodge they trilled "twee- wee"
    They nest on the shingle roof of Heriot-Watt University
    They seem happiest in youthful crowds by the sea
    They've always been with me
    The oystercatcher's "twee-wee"
    Since that Arisaig dawn that I woke to know them first.

  • Bird Story

    A further selection of Patrick's bird poems, under the title of "Bird Story" can be found here. One of the poems from that selection, "Carpe Diem", is reproduced here, along with a recording of Patrick reading the poem, acompanied by the song of two robins in his garden.

    Bird Story pdf

    Patrick gave his lecture on Bird Poetry – a few slides from which are included above – to an senior’s group in Morningside.

  • Carpe Diem (Robin)

    An eye - a drop of black paint -
    with a dun-green feint,
    nipping in to take reward.
    Chattering to self, heard
    sweet cadences in my ear.
    Trusty garden companion near
    in our cosy space from
    which brave bird takes the worm.

    picture of robin

    Robin (Sue Macnaughton)

    Carpe Diem was prepared for Heriot-Watt University Mental Health Awareness Week and was posted on LinkedIn during the pandemic.

  • Geese are back

    Skeins of geese are returning
    Now October is here again
    Where have they been all through
    This long fine summer past?
    What did they see up there in Lapland?
    Did they make new friends or
    Lose their elders on either far journey?
    Scotland’s sweet autumn grass and stubble
    Drew them back to strut and own the fields again
    Where all those geese flocked together
    Last winter - though fog and rain and cold
    Away from the snow-covered highlands
    In those lowland Lothian pastures.
    They fly over campus in V-front formations
    Straining to keep up the pace and their place
    In line on the leading Vulcan-wing foreset
    With equal formations above and below, to left and right
    Almost joyous to be back in their winter home
    Their eager gaggling draws your attention
    Up into the sky amongst the gathering clouds

    And you smile to yourself - They’re back!

    picture of geese

    Geese (Sue Macnaughton)