Hinterlands #3: Morning Chorus

Oxford Writers' HouseFeatures2018MarchHinterlands #3: Morning Chorus

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Hinterlands #3: Morning Chorus

             Morning Chorus


It is the question of a swan’s neck           

you read among the fractal Y-shapes

of branches, infinite unmade

decisions written in the trees.

Some have already lost their leaves.

             Like letters, they have simplified

their florid characters and dropped            

slow-floating diacriticals

along the river’s melody.


At each poised gesture of the oars

crotchety brazen geese are set

blaring at intervals and sometimes

the off-beat quaver of a duck-call

disrupts the starlings in their clouds

and shoals of demi-semi-measures.


Far off, a train, tracking in stretched

ellipses – dash dash dash – a sigh

Far off, a train, tracking in stretched

ellipses – dash dash dash – a sigh

encoded in three bars, inscribes

the circular horizon.


and you, one half-count out of eight

at seven on a winter morning,                       

your body pinned between the lines

of this imperfect metronome

that gives the water rhythm, only

half-conscious and distracted by

the great blue minim of the sky.

Bill Freeman

Bill Freeman

Bill Freeman was born in Guildford in 1998. He was educated at Charterhouse School and is currently reading Classics at Brasenose College, Oxford University. He has been published previously in the Michaelmas 2017 edition of Ash magazine.

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