Yesterday’s idea of a storm has passed. Weighted clouds remain, without menace, a soft compression overhead. The rain is swelling, the air is warming, the earth is calm, meditating, not sleeping. Underfoot, the mud is firm and pliable. I am looking down at the first push of nettles when I discover a headless blackbird. The head has been snicked off at the base of the neck, quite neatly. Blackbird’s feet are curled in, as though it could still hold on to a branch. The body looks untouched, but, under a closed wing, tiny ribs are visible. From the shape of the wounds, I am guessing the crows did this. I see how the feathers are so finely layered, how light the bones, how strong those little feet have been. Maybe bird-souls turn into clouds, fly up and wrap the earth in a grey nest. A few gentle fat drops of rain fall, I hold out my palm to the sky and catch three.
‘Pheasant, wood pigeon, blackbird,’ I say, and the snowdrops nod.