Augur by Colin Bancroft


It doesn’t know how close it is to death

As it pecks the seeds beneath the trees

Scattered from the feeders by the tits.

It doesn’t know that just beyond the copse

Stand men with guns, the last hunt of the year.

I want to warn it, shout out for it to fly

In any direction but the one where it will die.

But how do you become animal intuition?

Become a premonition in a language you don’t speak?

If I knew I might have read the signs

Myself the night I almost lost my life.

Heard the magpies call from the telephone lines

Or read the cloud formations in the sky.

There are some things that we shouldn’t know,

Are best left up to chaos to decide,

Because we’d never leave the house at all

But lock the door and find a place to hide.


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Colin Bancroft is currently working on a PhD on the Eco-Poetics of Robert Frost. He lives in the North Pennines and was the 2016 Poets and Players Prize winner.