I watch the way you want to reach the end
before you’ve begun. Here there is only this
egg and our sitting in shifts to keep it warm,
at the mercy of weather, another bird’s hunger.
Trust me, you must go to unknown places
and stay inside your body while you try.
Look at me being bird. Why is being human so hard?
I see you – fragile, fierce. What if every single day
was your only chance of incubating what wants
to be born and that was all you had to do – be there –
what you were made for, enough to make a stone sing?
From Startling (forthcoming, New Writing North)
Linda France is winner of the 2022 Laurel Prize for environmental poetry with The Knuklebone Floor (Smokestack, 2022). She has written ten full-length poetry collections including The Toast of the Kit-Cat Club (Bloodaxe 2005) and Reading the Flowers (Arc 2016). Her latest collection is Startling (New Writing North & Faber 2022).