Matthew James Friday – Three Poems


The Nuthatch

After thirty years of blurs
doubted by noisy blue tits,
pencil hovering over the page

of my RSPB Book of Birds,
boyhood never migrating
despite gathering crows,

I see you: an inverted
triangle on the tree trunk
in Dresden’s Grosser Garten.

Pastel blue back by Monet,
belly of creamy chestnuts,
beak borrowed from wood-

peckers, you probe the trunk,
relegated to sinew secrets;
branches belong to songbirds.

You listen for threats, Mum
calling time on summer,
autumn burning every leaf.

Suddenly you flit down to my
squatting trunk, hopping closer,
sideways, staring up at me, eyeball

centre of black Milky Way stripe.
The boy shivers with excitement.
Teach me the language of wings.

Unsure, you forage, tasting
wafer thin leaf snacks, then
shoot off to the opposite tree,

the next pillar in your creation.
You bolt back and forth, squeaking
lessons in blue electron language,

hanging upside down, circling
through time, gravity an after-
thought, until gone in a bluish,

teary raindrop. You leave me
aged ten, RSPB book quivering.
Then Mum calls time for tea.

April Evening on the River Exe

Faint white bulbs glide past,
collecting quietly, a crowd
of  swans settling into the
evening’s noble invisibility.

Quivering candle reflections
of window lights on the water,
the world closing its eyes,
blurring day-sharp boundaries

Black blurs unzip the cooling air:
furry coal bodies of bats, shadow
wings clasping the sun’s frayed
edges, hunting the last heat.


Pigeon Over Prague

A pigeon over Prague
playing at being a swift.
Must have heard the stories
about wings of wind
cut to copy the moon,
a voice that cuts clouds,
eyes that open inside summer.
So it tried out the chapters,
rolling in the air, diving,
mooning, trying to recreate
last year’s myths or make
an early legend in March,
giving pigeons a reason
to be proud, not pests.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty is refusing to be beaten: dwarfed by decades but dressed like a teen with summer slipped over a bright bikini, blonde hair, outrageously large sunglasses. She went up an elevator in a shopping mall while a young couple came down, looked down, noticed, sniggered, whispered about this youthful soul refusing to age appropriately. The aged beauty saw the young couple, knew what they said but carried on going up, adjusted her glasses, cracked out a reddened smile and refused to be beaten.


Matthew James Friday has had over 60 poems published in many UK and worldwide magazines and journals, including, recently: The Brasilia Review (Brazil), Eastlit (East Asia), New Contrast (South Africa) and Poetry Salzburg (Austria). More at: