from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Monday, 2 January 2017

Lost Species poem 11: Fiona Owen

Not so much about a lost species as a lost individual. I requested this poem from Fiona Owen as it has lodged in my mind and heart from her rich and feeling-full book, mentioned below. It never fails to make me catch my breath in pain.

However, bats are vulnerable to habitat and food-source loss, and some are indeed endangered. While the pipistrelle bat is relatively common in GB, I heard last year that it's very under-represented in, for instance, Brittany.


Response to Meredith Andrea’s ‘Pipistrelle’

It was like this: a high street place
of bodies busy with their heels
and soles, the ordinary tramp of feet
on wet pavements.
            I was little
but not as lost as the bit of brownish-black
on the pavement that a woman kicked to the side
with her pointy shoe. The way she curled
her nose at this bit of slack stuff
drew me closer, and down.

Toot of traffic was big around
pedestrians, their crossing and me
more afraid now for this flimsy thing
dropped from some dark into daylight
danger, now scraping its bit of brolly-self
against wall-edge, stranded amongst cigarette stubs
and chewing gum, the click-clack of heels, the swing
of shopping bags –

like live litter, this little
        with webbed wings.

My mother’s voice, like ultrasonic singing,
sounded somewhere above, a kind
of echolocation. She fell upon me,
Lost creature.
It could have been a Pipistrelle.

© Fiona Owen, from The Green Gate (Cinnamon Press, 2015)


  1. We have bats in our garden a lot in the summer and I love them. I don't know where they nest or over-winter though.

    1. Hi Angie - we too; and I do know where ours nest: in the minute pitched roof space between insulation and slates in my outdoor barn-study. The stream out like smoke at dusk from a gap less than a centimetre diameter!

  2. Such a wonderful poem that there's little else I can say other than this: it's the tenderness and compassion which comes straight through reminding me of loss v the ugly carelessness of life. And the way a discarded pipistrelle connects with memories of 'mother's voice . . . a kind of echolocation. This brought back my own mother's singing and her tenderness towards suffering – animal or human.

    Thank you so much Roselle, and Fiona for this memorable poem.
    Miri x

    1. Isn't it beautiful, Miri? I'll tell Fiona you've commented.

    2. Miri, Fiona has tried to post on here to thank you herself for your sensitive reading, but the words are clearing circling in the outer regions of cyberspace. So please accept my thanks instead! Rx

  3. Thanks for your thanks, Ro! I meant to say that we also have bats and I think they also nest in a similar space in the roof of next-door's barn, We've never seen them streaming but we do see that sudden rush past the window of something tiny and black which is so easy to miss or even looks like an illusion. Might try and buy Fiona's collection.
    Love, Miri

  4. Miriam, I really recommend Fiona's book – I think you'd like her style, and it's a beautiful collection.


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