How to make a Chough: an Origami Poem
Begin quietly, and in the dark,
with a bird-base hatched at sea.
Do not be scrupulous as the steersman,
or neglectful like the moon.
Lift a little light from winter’s mew and strand,
and take up the wide, pitch-paper.
First, make the midnight plume
by folding ink and slate across the shore,
and then unfolding back with care
to where the steel-blue raincloud stands.
Next, the wings in shining helmet-crankles,
quartered-up around the flat, still-beating heart.
Then press softly with thumb and forefinger
along the prickling air, whose flying-line may be
the whisper of a cleaving eye,
the prow of a bloodied beak.
To make the skulking-cave,
take neap-lines from the tide
and crease them to the salt-cliff’s foot.
Stand this beside the water’s edge.
Set out your bird.
Darkness drifts down in folded lines to the sea.
How to make a Chough: an Origami Poem by John Gallas was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2018) judged by Derek Adams