In all our sanctuaries we sit at risk

The Bird of Paradise Takes Another Look


There was a strange pause in Brexit proceedings at around the time this stanza was written. May asked the EU for another extension and obtained it, amid outrage from the Tory grass-roots and right-wing. The right wing newspapers began to change the subject. Some writers began talking cautiously about Brexit having “failed.” Might that really be possible ? If so, had it taught us anything ? In the meantime, I moved house and found myself in a place I loved immediately.

The “Bird of Paradise” reference takes us back to the original source and inspiration of this collection of rhyme royal stanzas. In his “Speak Parrot” poem, John Skelton was very clear that his parrot was exactly that : a bird of paradise, brought from that exotic place far away by recent explorers in small wooden ships. The parrot would have been a rare and startling creature in England in those days.