My head is full of his yellow whistle.
He has been building a nest in my ears
For months. His call takes me to Cuilcagh
To watch him perform some ancient rite
Like a priest at benediction.

Golden flecked cape slung over his shoulders,
A white stole curves past the wings
Of his summer soutane. Flicker of bog-cotton,
Altar of votive candles, he raises
His black bill in a mountain whistle,

A heathery love call to his lady plover.
She sits on buff and brown-spotted eggs
In a love nest of sedge and moss,
Mother ground to old wisdom
At the edge of time.

When bog cotton turns to snow on stilts
The lone wanderers assemble.
Hungry ghosts, they scrape the bog for last seeds,
Flex their feet to dance under the Host of the moon,
Then fly away in strange formations.