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Poetry – Ben Keatinge

Black Vulture

You loom at Madzharovo
then at Bosilovo
roost at Kalanjevo.                                                         

Black pilgrim
cowl of the air
crossing these skies,

come, we are prone
and torn, numbed,
expecting your news.

Cormorants at Dojran Lake

The fisher Christs are drying their wings
a great white pelican gawps
and gives a wide September yawn
a prudent heron heeds, and waits.

 

The Tetovo Buzzards

The Tetovo buzzards loop high and swoop low,
they circle the plains across Tetovo,
with the Vardar they bend, drift the ravines,
wider and deeper, hunting in teams;
the valleys are empty, the villages small,
the fields unfenced and the minarets tall;
did I hear one give a shriek-like ‘Shqip’
when crossing the canyon next to Chiflik?
Swinging from Saraj to Kumanovo
they reckon the wind, climb as they go.

Pelicans at Prespa Lake

Some pelicans festoon the bay
like summer boats at Howth or Bray
here to forage, to fish
and fly back across the spit
like local geese as day grows late
in Prespa or at Donabate
who swoop on Sutton, or on Rush,
then tail it to Achilleios.

 

Benjamin Keatinge is a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of English, Trinity College Dublin. His poetry has appeared in Orbis, Eborakon, The Galway Review, Agenda and Flare and is forthcoming in Writing Home: The ‘New Irish’ Poets (Dedalus Press, 2019). He is editor of Making Integral: Critical Essays on Richard Murphy (Cork University Press, 2019).

Pictures by Hristo Peshev. Bulgarian conservationist and wildlife photographer who works as field work co-ordinator at the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria specializing in vulture conservation.
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