The blackbird belly-breathes in the hedge,
Thicket awash with the rain and broken branches
The storm left behind
Of its clouds and whitewash.
It watches the plume of its breath escape,
Claws at it with its half-frozen beak
And its disarranged feathers,
Wings oddly folded across its crooked back.
Its deafness has silenced its song now, in age,
Alone in the cave that was a nest when,
Hearing, it called to the stilling morning.
Its eyes, too, have withered with the years,
Their colour dissipated with the final winter,
And talons blunted by fruitless hunting,
The ground too sodden to rest on.
She shakes herself and waits for her next breath,
And waits …