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Lay for the Day 4th October

The feast day of St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of birds. (See 3rd October, where the first part of the poem appears. The third part appears on 16th October.)

Philosophers of the Window part 2


Another school entirely
are the grey-
headed epicureans,
whose debate
is always further postponed
while they feed,
and whose flight has a certain
Few are so fond of the ground
as, intent,
with slow deliberate step
and gazes
bent upon it, they seek their
grains of sense.
Of the true good they inquire,
where are you?
without raising their voices.
Of their roosts
they neither boast nor complain.
They are rain-
cloud-coloured, thick as thunder,
which are doves
of a kind,
faithful to peace and plenty.



She remains pragmatic.
The flock vetoes itself,
blackbirds filibuster.
She’s already opened
the fledgling in her foot.



Who can tell what this one would,
the joker,
pending in the tree like a
You hear the query clucking
and seek him,
who flies a slim tail as jack
of his luck,
airily rattling off the
long odds.
Made too bold for nihilist,
since his black
is bruise-blues and verdigris,
the fencing
style of his flight signifies
a freelance
in affairs of the darkness
and the light.
Or perhaps he’s as partial
as the moon
is just to give that war-dance
grounds to be.


John Gibbens

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar