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Picture No. 10704477 © Mary Evans / Natural History Museum

Fall from Grace
by Geraldine Mitchell


The birds are busy with spring

imperatives – housing and husbandry –


syrinxes on overtime as fox and badger

start their slippered rounds. Past midnight,


a nightingale. At daybreak the golden oriole

makes his royal return, tunes up his flute,


begins the first performance of the year.

All day I sleep and wake, wake and sleep,


cocooned in sonic tapestry, laid out

between cockcrow and kestrel, day-


dreaming the hoopoe’s three-hoot loop,

submerged in a confusion of warblers


from the reed-beds close by. So easy

to picture a world we’ve been erased from,


thin-skinned creatures that we are,

and hoarse from shouting.


© Geraldine Mitchell

Picture No. 10704477 © Mary Evans / Natural History Museum


Poet and writer Geraldine Mitchell was born in Dublin. She has been living on the Mayo coast for twenty years and increasingly divides her time between her Mayo home and southern France where her daughter, son and two grandchildren live. Geraldine’s fifth collection, Naming Love, is due to appear in 2024. Her previous collections are Mute/Unmute (2020), Mountains for Breakfast (2017), Of Birds and Bones (2014) and World Without Maps (2011), all with Arlen House. She won the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2008 and is widely published and anthologised.

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