Brigand | Matthew Clegg

              I switch off the revs,
pop my ears from the helmet’s pod,
and blink white lines from my sight.
I crunch along the footpath
to a hide on Denaby Ings.
              A bird I can’t name
trills like a rag on soapy glass –
a squeak with a chime in it.
Coots chafe like chair legs on lino;
a dove chants a wood mass.
There are water take-offs,
and water landings –
a lush trawl of sound.
              Wing beats ripple
and a gull throttles its cry
on obsessive/compulsive loop.
A jay flits a toy windmill
in and out through the slats;
ducks squeeze their honks
              then hush.
This is the moment I love –
when two minutes’ silence
is a slow pull of Moonshine.
It’s interrupted by gnats
teasing at the edge of buzz
and the clatter and creak
is me donning my helmet
and wrapping this up.

Note: The Brigands are a South Yorkshire motorcycle gang. Moonshine is a fruity bitter brewed at Sheffield’s Abbeydale Breweries.

appears in Matthew Clegg’s collection
The Navigators. Listen to Clegg reading this poem in a bird hide on the edge of Denaby Ings nature reserve, South Yorkshire: