In Bedlam's Wood


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Born in Prestwick, David Hale lives in the southern Cotswolds, and works at a land and craft based college for young adults on the autistic spectrum.He has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, and has had work published in a range of British and Irish magazines and anthologies.In 2012 his pamphlet The Last Walking Stick Factory appeared from Happenstance Press.

In Bedlam's Wood was launched at the 2014 Derwent poetry Festival and was a winner of the Templar Pamphlet Award.


Bedlam’s wood

I lose myself in looking in and listening
to the song of woodland birds,
till a cock pheasant appears in all its finery.

At its approach, I kneel, stretch out a hand,
let it peck my boot, wondering at such warp
in natural tendency - if here is something

long suspected, that shape is less secure
in such places - wait for the change to come.
Which when it does, is unexpected,

as if scent or sudden closeness, the burning
contact of another’s eye triggers some
chemical surge in its brain, and hurling itself

at shin and knee it does its best draw blood.
Backing off, I resort to boot and stick
to parry the frenzy of its attack, no match

for such instinctive speed, this blur of wing
and wattled colour; unnerved forget myself,
and kick and kick again, the thud of boot

on breast and bone at last breaking
some dim contact in its opiate flooded brain,
enabling me to hurry away down the rutted track.




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