Introducing the March 2009 Readers – 1. Nalini Paul

Nalini Paul’s poetry and fiction have been published widely in the UK, and in the US. She was born in India, grew up in Vancouver and has been living in Scotland since 1994. She is currently working on a collection of poetry inspired by nature and migration, and is writing a novel based on her family history, for which she received a Scottish Arts Council grant. Nalini has worked collaboratively with artists in Glasgow and Biggar, where she was writer-in-residence at the Ruby Orange Gallery (2005-6). Her collaborative book, Leaf Fall, Seeing by Touch, was published by Grimalkin Press in 2006.

Bird Dreaming

The poor cormorant, limping, can’t sing.
Anyway, its wings weren’t made for water.

Who would have thought
that a black bird without grace
could stir the river’s pity?

When it dreams it lets the breeze in,
wings opened loosely like a limp toy
on a draw string.

Then it skirts the surface:
flap
slap
clap
of legs, claws and wings.

Darkness echoes in near-flight
as it hides its guttural croaking call.

When it lands, silence replies,
returning nothing.

But a bird dream is a word dream
when a cormorant fails to sing.

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