Our Friday Poem this week is ‘Blackbird’ by Pascale Petit, from her collection Fauverie.
Weaving together hardship and beauty, ‘Blackbird’ invokes the image of a bird’s feathers as an abstract comfort in the face of confinement: ‘each number / became a blackbird’s feather.’
This volume has childhood trauma and a dying father at its heart, and the poems skillfully transform painful experiences into expressions of grief. Fauverie redeems the darker forces of human nature while celebrating the ferocity and grace of endangered species: at its heart is the title’s name-sake: the big-cat house in the Jardin des Plantes zoo. Paris, too, takes centre stage – a city savage as the Amazon, haunted by Aramis the black jaguar and a menagerie of wild animals.
When they locked me
in the cellar
and told me to count
slowly to a hundred,
became a blackbird’s feather
and all the darkness
through the keyhole
of my yellow beak.
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