Strings 1

‘dreams jangling with lost connections’

March 2024



distinctively liquid     and rich in mimicry
descending in parachute song flight

with wild trumpeting
                            & whooping on the breeding grounds

            the ventriloqual wet-my-lips                         of a marshland sentinel

throat snatched         harsh scarp                             flushed
from trailside
                            calling ahh in motion

the bounce over scrubland, a zippy chorus
of unreeling fishing lines

                          tails drummed in diving

            in penetrating yelps and poop whistles        in strident pipings 
            in the evening, frog-ish and sneezing

                                        calling cor-lee at all times

the metal and the melody
slender belly, furbished beak


most guttural summer        whinnying and wailing
and snoring near the nest

                                        like cat, like pig, like bell, like bugle!

with cacophonic croon and lekside bubble
                                        the wicka-wicka-wicka and zit-zit of sexes

display of courting clatterbills
              brackish & thick-necked

                                          double quack – cackle – gabble

exploding in wing claps after the foghorn
after the break of the moan, far-carrying


hover or circle
                                with well-worn tremble, that whoo-hoo-hoo  
                                                                                              hung high over woodland

the fluting too-eet: cool diagnosis  
as with the nasal shreep or thin tseep                      much as the kirrick or the creek

above our blind parsing, all this
squealing shrieking yelping wheezing whining whistling twittering tinkling trilling
ringing rattling rumbling purring clucking crackling croaking chattering jangling
barking booming

                                   accelerating                       in short bursts from the reed beds
from prominent song posts
                                                                     audacious! astounding!

amazingly boisterous, the colony on the rock!

                                      in raucous kaar and resonant korr
                                                    skaark chack chek and harsher chuckle

                            crooning ledger
                            familiar laughter

                            silent elsewhere


scolding churr and disjointed jangle
sound out of sight, from scanty undergrowth     

                                      o, know and hold and note
                                      these little powers of terse air!

                                                          passerine aggressions
                                                                              swell against your migratory favour

                                                      a curt rest on the water: cascading torrent

from a base of plaintive tu-lu-lee phrases, tales
rise to sparkling trill             final flourish
from grating on the morning                        short – sharp – quick
to the best lick of the dusk, the very silken best

                                      hanging for the opening, soft and low

this, for the commonly mute and tending quiet
and this
            for the barely heard              the rare

FIONA GLEN is a writer, editor and artist from Edinburgh. She is interested in ecologies and experimental uses of text. Glen's poetry has appeared in exhibitions, periodicals, and anthologies from Dark Mountain, Poem Atlas and Broken Sleep. Mycoglossia (2022, HVTN Press) – her poetry pamphlet co-written with Nina Hanz – is an exploration of mushrooms and spores.