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Helen Gwyn Jones - Stalking the Stork.jpg

Content Warning: death, fertility, blood

Bex Hainsworth – The Woodpigeon and the Crow

Entering the courtyard to unwitting witnesshood,

I found a splash of blood on the gravel

and a mound of shuddering bird-dust.

The body of a woodpigeon chick,

proto-feathers catching the wind like ashes,

its tiny muscles tight in a final spasm,

then releasing, slick as an afterbirth.

Above the body, a crow crouched,

miniature reaper, blood glittering on

his granite lips. Sulphurous angel,

I see my pale, double silhouette coming to a stop

in the potholes of his dark eyes.

Unstartled, he stands over his kill.


The chick was a brief visitor to this earth,

a blurry-edged soul barely slipped into a body.

Soft cocoon of world-ignorance, they were

an easy target for ambush by a bandit,

charcoal vampire, goblin of the grey dawn.

Finally, the black wings lifted, an executioner

doffing his hood, and the crow rose, relinquishing

the guilt of gravity. I looked for meaning,

as Calchas once divined for Agamemnon,

but saw no moral, no forecast, only death.

Bex Hainsworth is a poet and teacher based in Leicester, UK. She won the Collection HQ Prize as part of the East Riding Festival of Words and her poetry has been published following commendations in the Welsh Poetry, Ware Poets, Beaver Trust, and AUB Poetry competitions. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Lake, MONO., Atrium and Brave Voices Magazine. 

Artwork: Stalking the Stork by Helen Gwyn Jones

Helen Gwyn Jones started recording her world at the age of 8 when she bought a Brownie camera from her sister, something which has become a lifelong passion.  A collector of the past (hers and other people’s) she likes nothing better than muted images of imperfection.  May be found poring over Welsh grammar books when not photographing drains or going into raptures over rust. Publications include, Hungry Ghost Project, Free Flash Fiction, Acropolis Journal,  Paddler Press, Pareidolia Literary, Blink Ink, Hecate, Moss Puppy, The Levatio, Camas, Storyteller’s Refrain, Full House Literary, Subliminal. Twitter / Instagram @helengwynjones

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