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Published: 15 Feb 2022

Wild Moment: Gina Palmer

"Our home in Inverness backs on to a woodland that has recently been taken into community ownership. We are frequently treated to unexpected encounters with nature." Gina's poems capture chance meetings with an owlet and young sparrowhawk.


We hear the soft chirrup in the gathering dusk
the wood in shadow now,
damp smell of leaves and light fading fast.
Voices hushed, quiet footfall of the tracker,
eyes intent, searching for a glimpse. 

All of a sudden a fluttering,
a rush of feathers test the air…
and there she is, in all her soft puff-ball glory
perched high above,
gripping the rough bark with new-found talons
as she sways from side to side.
Opal night-black eyes,
solemn white moon face,
looking at us looking at her…

And then she is gone.

Young Sparrowhawk

You arrived today, thunderbolt from the blue,
sat on the fence in all your fierce glory;
head swiveling, golden orbed eye
searching, waiting, missing nothing.

I gaze in wonder at your butterscotch rippled chest
and bright yellow talons, each with its black-tipped nail 
ready to rip, to tear, to slice.

You gaze in longing at the now empty bird table.

All is silent.


 You lunge at the privet hedge
 where sparrows hide cocooned in a thicket of spears
 that hurl you back from your quest
 and send you streaking on your way,
 a lightening arrow flying low and fast across the woods.

©  Gina Palmer (O'Brien)

Snowy branches

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