Eleanor Livingstone

Bird in the hand, fleetingly

Bones and trees can last for centuries.
Give them a hill top vantage point,
they’ll watch as generations come and go
till science cuts them up to count the rings
or grinds them down to make fine china.
Cups unearthed from graves have outlived lips
which sipped from them, and ancient hands
intact in every bony detail shrug off time.

Compared to wood or bone, the spirit
is a short-stay visitor; but while a tree
through all its years may nurse ten thousand
tiny hearts, each skeleton remembers only one.
Nor does the bird who builds her nest
amongst the branches think she owns the tree.

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About Eleanor Livingstone

Eleanor Livingstone is a poet and editor from Fife, Scotland. Her publications include The Last King of Fife (Happenstance Press) and Even the Sea (Red Squirrel Press). From 2010 to 2011 she was Festival Director of StAnza, Scotland's International Poetry Festival.