Christine Whittemore



Writing Conference

For Steve M

A feathered thud against the windowpane,
and there outside, a crimson bird, a cardinal,
stunned and faintly trembling on the gravel
where it fell hard. So fragile and downthrown,
so close to death. You went out with a plain
old box; nested the bird in false nocturnal
dark, set aside the box like an unclaimed parcel,
and, heavily, we turned to our work again.
But now there’s an urgent scratching, claws against cardboard;
you carry the box outside, you loosen the strings,
you open wide the flaps; nothing happens; we wait;
and then in one smooth upward leap, restored,
the bird sails out, red shaft of open wings,
and everything’s re-written by its flight.






Christine Whittemore is based in her home county Gloucestershire after years in the US. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including The American Scholar, Orbis, Outposts, and Antiphon, and won several awards. Her novel Inscription is out now.



This poem was first published in The Cannon’s Mouth, Issue 58, December 2015 (commended in Sonnet or Not competition 2015).

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