Samuel Coe reading ‘Is There Such a Thing as a Native Bird?’


Is there such a thing as a native bird?

by Samuel Coe


Is there such a thing as a native bird?

Those original fair weather friends of

Early morning song, emigrants of winter,

Their leaving returning the silence of our own thoughts. 


Such nomadicness is perhaps healthier, 

Allowing us to alight on the mouths of

Other rivers and line up, beads on the string

Of distant communication. Going to where the


Going is good but then again there is sadness 

In being so rootless. The trees we called home

May fall in the interim, the geography change

While we weren’t there to appreciate it, to


Preserve its passing in memory, to return to

Those old scrolls whose seasons we

Wait for the year round, the prophecy

Of winter in summer, the spirit of autumn


In spring, to adapt rather than flee to where,

Trapped in the possibilities of change,

In climates that we find so different to ours,

Every lit match is a prayer to God for rain.


But then again, bamboo can take root and

Thrive in foreign soils if cultivated and cared for,

Where birds alien to it flit within, which

Perhaps answers my initial question. 




Sam Coe lives in York with an MA in Philosophy wilting in the back of his mind. His poetry is concerned with absence, either in the world or within the limits of language.

17 March 2021