My mother used to say when a Robin hops into your house
It does so as an omen forewarning coming doom
(For one of her grey uncles had passed away soon after
Playing enraptured host to such a rubecula visitor);
The Redbreast is a fleeting guest, a chat come unannounced
With unassuming friendliness, trusting in the gloom
Of wilting winter, bringing colours, fire-brief orange, white and mouse-
Brown, seems to make itself at home in human room,
Its feathers quite unruffled under unfamiliar roof –
That there’s nothing to fear in this sprightly portent’s surely proof
That the darkening change it augurs gently falling soon
Like softly silent snow, is no more something to dread
Than a sudden change of wind, or the coldness of a bed,
Just brushing off a breath, or a through-draft with a broom,
In a moment, one of trillions that made us who we are;
Everything we think and feel and touch and love and know,
Our memories, experiences… footprints in the snow…


Alan Morrison is author of several critically praised poetry collections: The Mansion Gardens (Paula Brown, 2006), A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (Waterloo, 2009), Keir Hardie Street (Smokestack, 2010), Captive Dragons (Waterloo, 2012), Blaze a Vanishing/ The Tall Skies (Waterloo, 2013) and Shadows Waltz Haltingly (Lapwing, 2015). His epic polemical poem Odour of Devon Violet (, 2014- ) is still in progress. In 2014 he was awarded a three year Royal Literary Fund Award. His eighth collection, Tan Raptures, is forthcoming from Smokestack in February 2017. Morrison is founding editor of The Recusant and Militant Thistles.


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