A world of wings and cries

muffle-toed in holy Mary's churchyard
a nine nest rookery rocks queasily
topping off the bare brazen beech
congregants wend the wayward path below
to the great carved door, bowed by wet west winds
or a North-easterly that comes gusting round
medieval mildewed stones
biting through to all the human bones

the grave-groping root-grubbing builders
have done with twig and twine revivals
cacophonous grumblings of whose is what
and what is where, dark-vowelled now
still as sylphs, the pair-bonds stand sentinel
or sit before the births, bloody gash of gaping mouths
plundering down to a white-faced hunger 
for worms and fledgling flesh 

lark-high in the belfry's humming hymnal
the baked-earth chimney stacks, Jack black daws bicker
and twitter in fast flowing flights of fancy
on an adjacent thorn, a crow couple, flint-eyed and steely  
strop their beaks to a clean, fine edge
dusk settles hush-hush on sloe-eyed April
and two bell-voiced birds ascend to evensong
in one long dust-tongued

For further reading, here are the poetry sources for the title of this poem & six of Thomas’ word-compounds that I used:
a world of wings & cries ~ Being but Men
muffle-toed ~ After the funeral
grave-groping ~ The seed at zero
dark-vowelled ~ Especially when the October wind
lark-high ~ Into her lying down head
bell-voiced ~ Altar-wise by owl-light
dust-tongued ~ It is the sinner’s dust-tongued bell

I’m guest hosting this Tuesday Poetics and my challenge is to write a poem with at least four of the given word compounds that Dylan Thomas employs in his poetry. Join us in Love the Words

47 thoughts on “A world of wings and cries

  1. Oh what a wonderful atmosphere you give… the compound words and the assonans of the poem adds so much… those two crows in the tree, as well as the scenery of a leaf-less graveyard with words of bones and dust… love it.

    1. thank you for your appreciative comment Bjorn – this was a scene that imprinted itself and then I had the chance to put it into the imagery of DT – no other would do

  2. Oh joy, we can create our DT-cloned poetics; what a fantastic prompt! Your poem illustrates your prompt with gusto and charm. It even feels like a poem of the past, something left on a Church posting in Milkwood. You had me at /plundering down to a white-faced hunger for worms and fledgling flesh/.

    1. Can hear the joy of words from you Glenn – I have lived and breathed Milkwood. Glad you chose those particular lines as they slipped in without any effort – a gift from the old music master perhaps

  3. I love this, Laura, from the title right to the final word! You’ve captured the rhythm of the wind in the line ‘a nine nest rookery rocks queasily’ and the alliteration makes it so rich. The scene is painted in such detail, with the ‘medieval mildewed stones’, root-grubbing builders’ ‘cacophonous grumblings of whose is what / and what is where’, the ‘Jack black daws bicker’(faint echoes of Under Milk Wood there!) and dusk settling ‘hush-hush on sloe-eyed April’. Delectable writing!

  4. I love the sounds of this–and there’s some humor, too, I think, as in “the grave-groping root-grubbing builders” with their “cacophonous grumblings.” I like the alliteration and the atmosphere you create.

    1. rooks do amuse me so evidently the humour came through – have a penchant for alliteration so following in the footsteps here of Thomas gave vent to that

  5. This was fun to read. My favorite phrases are: “Jack black daws bicker / and twitter in fast flowing flights of fancy.” Plus I love those last few lines.

  6. You might have gathered that I am a big fan of rooks. I love this portrait of them – the intelligence, the reputation of evil, the whole graveyard thing. So many great lines, and great use of those compound words. I LOVE THIS PROMPT!!!

  7. I savored each line, each movements, until the beautiful duet in the end:

    and two bell-voiced birds ascend to evensong
    in one long dust-tongued

    Such a wonderful prompt – thank you for hosting Laura.

  8. I liked this one very much. The word compounds slip seamlessly into the lines without drawing attention to themselves. You’ve made them your own.

  9. The subject is perfectly rendered with your words…dark birds and churchyards, the silhouettes and sounds echoing against the sky. (K)

  10. Difficult to pick out the excellent lines of this but

    ‘plundering down to a white-faced hunger
    for worms and fledgling flesh’

    grabbed me the most.
    Great work.

  11. This is wonderful Laura, and I love the scene you’ve painted withyour words. Some great Thomas-like compounds as well! Haunting photo.. 🙂

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