The Wind-Birds
Numenius arquata

While life lasts, look up
if you hear her far-carrying cry.
Over bluish moor-grass
come the songs on the wing,

the heartbeat kvi – kvi – kvi
whistles across high uplands,
the slow gliding courlee – courlee
above her nest on tussocky ground.

Here her greenish buff eggs
mottled and tashed with brown
hide the beginning of song
packed under smudged crowns.

Moorland, haunt of the whaups
who are kin to the wind,
between earth and sky they skirl
the wheeple whauple of it all.

tashed : blotched

photograph: Netherton Road, Stromness, Orkney, June / Whaup egg (Curlew), Stromness Museum