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Bats, from the Word-Cave to the Sound-Field by Laura Varnam

Bats, from the Word-Cave to the Sound-Field

(after AE Stallings)

Crepuscular, vespertine

this Latinate language 

of dusk-inviting evenings

was coined for you

as you unclip toes from cave-top 

and drop 

into flight,

fingers flare to umbrella-wings,

and like tiny dragons you swoop, 

switch and flit, 

skitter to soundout your prey, 

praying, pulsing for echoes

to return like submarine pings

in the gloming, 

where the sounds soar, 

in the gloming

where the soul soars.

*in the gloming [dusk]' is borrowed from the Middle Scots poet Robert Henryson's Moral Fables.

This poem was written for and performed at the 'Sound-Fields' installation as part of the Forever Fields exhibition at Worton Hall on 25th November 2023. With thanks to Helen Barr for the invitation to contribute.

Laura Varnam is the Lecturer in Old and Middle English Literature at University College, Oxford. She was one of the winners of the Nine Arches Press Primers competition in 2023 and a selection of her Beowulf-inspired poems will be published in Primers Volume Seven in August 2024. Her poems have been published in journals including Bad Lilies, Banshee Lit, Berlin Lit, MIR Online, and Wet Grain, the anthology Gods & Monsters, and with creative-critical essays in Annie Journal and postmedieval.

1 comentario

28 abr

What a beautiful poem, holding, as it does, the shadow of the cave and the half mythical exploratory judder, dart, lightness of the word…

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