Migration Counterpoint

Sandlines  ( www.breakingnewground.org.uk ) operated a series of writers workshops in The Brecks, to promote the rich variety of landscape, fauna and flora that can be found in this special landscape.  I took part in one, which was based in the BTO centre in Thetford, and led by Lois Williams and Melinda Appleby.    In spite of fairly constant rain the event was much enjoyed by all those taking part.  The key theme was ‘Migration’ and this poem found its first flight there, and has subsequently had its plumage smoothed.

This poem features in an anthology  of  poetry arising from those workshops, ‘Voices From The Brecks‘, which was  published by Sandlines in September 2015.


This poem was one that I read at the second Suffolk Poetry Festival at Stowmarket in May 2015

Ivor reading at the 2015 SPS Poetry Festival. Photo by Colin Whyles

Ivor reading at the May 2015 Suffolk Poetry Society Festival.Photo by Colin Whyles


Reading at Bury Apex
Reading at Bury Apex

Sue Wallace -Shaddad took this photo on January 14th 2016 of me reading this poem at the ‘Breaking New Ground’ celebration of the Breckland, in The Apex, Bury St Edmunds.




In my autumn I seek assurance in cyclic tokens of the spring:

blackthorn’s first white blossom, siskins’ restless gathering,

leaving for the warming North, supplanted by southern migrants.

These endless cycles ease my fear of journey’s ending.


I try to cram each day with tasks, irrelevant peripherals,

stretching time that’s left, checking for signs of senescence.

Do birds sense time’s passage migrating above deserts, guided

through the featureless by  North’s magnetic presence?


What power draws the crozier of each fern’s new uncurling,

poised, a green flexing my elderly joints can only envy?

The swoop shriek of returning swifts, like circling kids on bikes,

teases me that simple joy is now in very short supply.




The anthology published by Sandlines
The anthology published by Sandlines
Back to Top