Penelope Layland – Strike

PL LEP&W V3 Dec 2022

Download PDF Here 13th Anniversary
Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three December 2022.

Strike, poems by Penelope Layland.


The double-glazing is toffee-thick, muffling even
timber trucks to a sawdust hum,
so the sound of a silver-eye hitting glass
is the flick of a fingernail against a thumb.

I see them cramped in the garden bed, later,
between daffodil cups, where dusty bees doze.
Their dead smallness is apologetic:
they take up no room at all.
Their feet are fisted into balls,
their flat eyes are without reproach.

But once they filled all space, hectic at their world’s centre,
till the blue illusion, the solid air
of their final approach.

Photographing the skylark
(an impossibility)

Why must I desire its brown, plain featherdness,
when brownness, featheredness, is not the point of it,
even to the other larks to which it sings, endlessly,
pointedly, suspended, sounding as though its own
brown and feathered throat must burst from the joy of it?

© Penelope Layland

Penelope Layland is an award-winning poet and a former journalist and speechwriter. Her most recent book is ‘Beloved’ (Recent Work Press 2022), an extended suite of poems in the voice of the 19th-century diarist Dorothy Wordsworth.

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