Poetry 125: Birds’ Nests by Edward Thomas


The summer nests uncovered by autumn wind,
Some torn, others dislodged, all dark,
Everyone sees them: low or high in tree,
Or hedge, or single bush, they hang like a mark.

Since there’s no need of eyes to see them with
I cannot help a little shame
That I missed most, even at eye’s level, till
The leaves blew off and made the seeing no game.

‘Tis a light pang. I like to see the nests
Still in their places, now first known,
At home and by far roads. Boys knew them not,
Whatever jays and squirrels may have done.

And most I like the winter nests deep-hid
That leaves and berries fell into:
Once a dormouse dined there on hazel-nuts,
And grass and goose-grass seeds found soil and grew.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

About Richard Flanagan

I’m an Operating Department Practitioner who works for my local NHS trust in Shropshire, UK. I’m married with two young children (plus two dogs and a corn snake) and am currently undertaking an Open University degree in History. I listen to a lot of music of all genres, but especially Rock (Punk, Alternative etc.) and enjoy cooking, eating and drinking. Although I don’t consider myself to be a Buddhist I am interested in some Buddhist ideas and practices. As such, I was briefly active with Secular Buddhism UK and it was through that group that I came to be involved with the Middle Way Society.

3 thoughts on “Poetry 125: Birds’ Nests by Edward Thomas

    1. I keep a pair of old shoes in the garden shed. The other morning I went to put them on to do some weeding, and noticed some tufts of grass in one. A closer look revealed a shoe containing assorted twigs, dry grass, small pieces of dried concrete left over from some repairs to a window surround, and twenty or so maize corns apparently removed from a couple of cobs set aside for the chickens.

      A nest of some sort, was it? Apparently so. I emptied the contents into a plastic shovel and wondered. What little creature had made it? A mouse? A squirrel? Not a bird, the shed is always closed up when I’m not in it. A few days later I threw the nest away. I felt a bit mournful in doing so, it was some small creature’s refuge, and I had destroyed it albeit inadvertently. But not without a care.

      The poem reminded me of that event, that’s all.

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