One for sorrow

St Valentine’s Day and now
it is we who are falling
one by one all around
in spring sunshine is the glitter
of a magpie’s eye
he fixes me
from his perch on the half-wrecked shed
auguring this week’s sorrow

fresh in black and white finery
he lifts over the raised beds
flirts and jinks
over the late-standing leeks
and shoots of garlic poking through
the dark turned over earth.



Kathleen McPhilemy was born and brought up in Northern Ireland but now lives in Oxford. She has published three books of poetry, the most recent being The Lion in the Forest (