Poetry | Jim Lloyd

The Wild Call

I

all day the rain was falling
it was falling all night but
this day now she thought
this morning now the low wind
and October sun was clear
and the morning tingled
as she walked over the wet grass
and the ground soft in the rough meadows –
and a stark melody pervaded her senses

flying high above her like the bow
of a silver longship each oar
blade a bird and from the bow
a wake rippled adjusting her
long brown hair – she could see
the long necks and the steady
wing beats like the strokes
of the channel swimmer – the sparse

melody was laid upon the air
and she stood transfixed – the moment
held open as between awake
and sleep – the birds moving
purposefully following
the grain of electromagnetism
down the rich seam of the river
over sunrise – and the wind
coursed over their white feathers
necks outstretched – eye film
to the wind – trimming unceasingly
as the flock rearranged and adjusted their liquid arrow

and at night aligning with the star-track
moving with one spirit – the flock
as one – piercing the magnetic reign
of the air – flexing in the slipstream

and the spirit rolled on down through
the dark green corridors of evolution
before the industrial revolution
and before the neolithic
and the palaeolithic
down to where the air meets the light
and the sky meets the earth’s limit

a white line of washing hangs
in the breeze in the morning shining
the moles unaware in their flooded holes
pushing up the fresh bright earth
while the dark rivers vein to the sea
the rain of day and night and day


II

we are the wind farmers – each wing beat
the turn of the turbine blade restless
relentless beating unified – the earth
moving back below –
and in your pocket of time
you stand immobile – monkish – killing time

where is your god now –
we passed hollowed cities to the neon
pulsing currents to return down
through the dark hallways of evolution and infinity

beating blood pulsing through
the nervous system wired together
to the oar blades plunging again
rippling down through your mind
and flowing hair as the worms
at your feet sing in the new ground
pink and humid despite the lateness of the year

trees to the right and it had rained all night
and day and night and she couldn’t say
the time she became aware
of the sparse music or when it stopped
held within a minute’s moment –
the harsh melodic voice had entered her
consciousness as time unfolded and a new line of time wrapped itself
around her in an ever

unfolding presence encircling
the long now – the birds moving still
clock switching through her sensory systems
the dog beside her his nostrils twitching
stood with one paw lifted – poised precisely –
it had rained all day and night –
now the October sun bright on the bedsheets

III

and now it is raining and now
she lay alone listening to the long
drumming refrain of the rainfall
in the ever-unchanging half-light
and she drew the covers tight in solitude
the birds had gone
from across the fjords
down across political divides
moved over the fields and towns

yet she will stand in the fields
wet with rain when they return
and join them – heading north


Header image shows sonogram of a skein of Pink-footed geese flying over Hexham, Northumberland, UK, 23:50 23rd September 2021.

The film of ‘The Wild Call’, a collaboration between Jim Lloyd and Annie Morrad, can be watched here.


Jim Lloyd is an artist and poet living in Hexham, Northumberland. He was a winner in the Rialto Nature and Place poetry competition and his work has appeared previously on bind. He is studying for an arts practice-based PhD at Newcastle University considering the question ‘what is it like to be a bird?’. He utilises a range of methods including writing, video and sound recording. He has made a device to translate birdsong into human language.

Website: www.jamesjosephlloyd.com

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