orchards and dark green fields

People keep commenting on the prevalence of birdsong during these lock-down days. Perhaps it really is louder and closer or maybe it’s just the reduction of background noise makes it seem so. Somehow when the birds are singing, horror drifts away. The circumstances are different but I’m reminded of Siegfried Sassoon’s Everyone Sang.

I was so pleased to launch my new collection A Speech of Birds at the stay-at-home festival earlier this month, reading alongside poets Alyson Hallett and Lynn Davidson. Here’s the cover and the book photographed against today’s louring skies.

Thank you to everyone who has ordered it. Clive, of Francis Boutle, tells me that he is now able to take PayPal so if that was an issue for you, he is now up and running.

You might also want to take a look at the other titles from this wonderful, boutique press.

Clive is tireless in promoting lesser-used languages. These are as precious and vulnerable as the animals and plants also on the verge of extinction and poetry is the life-blood of language. There’s an interesting Guardian podcast from last October where he speaks of his work with poetry in Livonian, Kernewek, Scottish Gaelic, Catalan, Frisian and many more languages.

Finally, some images of No Man’s Orchard a few miles from our home in Canterbury. It’s a community orchard of beautiful free-range apple trees, accessible either via Harbledown or the Stour Valley straight out of the city, then up onto the Downs.