At the Festival of Texts

… while they were talking about
genetic engineering in The Great Hall
and declassified documents in The Barn
two words were trying to get out
of an abandoned greenhouse in the grounds.

… while poets sat sifting
under trees what they were
going to read or chewing over
what had already been read
we found some white shit
at the base of a trunk
denoting a sparrow-hawk
– worth stepping back
before looking up.

And then we passed
a humming-bird hawkmoth
with its proboscis
stuck in a flower
and heard clapping
from a lecture
on The Paradox of Happiness.
It was about this time
that we came across
the two trapped words
belly up against glass trying
to get out of the greenhouse
which leant on a warm
crusty old brick and flint wall.

The words had drawn a small crowd
which started to twitter and flap
but the man I was with – a non-reader,
non-writer by choice but willing to listen
entered the glass house and by moving
slowly with hands hovering lightly
was able to catch the words and hold them
for a minute passage of time before
he let them go free from the text…

Mary Maher