Dawn Chorus by Cherry Doyle


Somewhere on the ring road,
a siren screams. The sky
is searing red at the corner.

Early risers, overnighters,
buzz through the streets;
andante slap of shoes
a cobblestone percussion.

Someone sweeping in a hi-vis
whistles, con fuoco, into the
receding orange folds of streetlight.

Wagtails glissando from tree to tree
down Dudley Street;
even the blood-red sun
sings on the horse’s rump.

A poco sotto voice announces
the London train, and every
humdrum station on the way.

Across the aisle, a woman
leaning on the window,
flashes a stave of stocking,
snoring pianissimo.

Italian Musical Terms
Con fuoco – with fire
Andante – walking pace
Glissando – a ‘glide’ between two notes
Poco sotto – a little subdued
Pianissimo – very softly


Back to poems