Bat Soup

Poem By Fleur Adcock

But it's diluted with sky, not water,
the aerial plankton on which they sup.
Our solitary pipistrelle flickers
over her chosen suburban quarter,
echo-locating, to siphon it up.
It nourishes birds as well as bats -
high-flyers that feed on the wing,
swifts, house-martins - this floating gruel
of hymenoptera, midges and gnats,
thunderbugs, beetles, aphids, flies,
moths, mosquitoes, and flying dots
almost too small to be worth naming.
Some of it swirls at a lower level -
a broth of midges over a pool
at dusk or a simultaneous hatch
of mayflies boiling up from Lough Neagh:
swallow-fodder, and also a splotch
to plaster on any passing windscreen,
though even at speed there's never so much
as of yore; bad news for the food-chain,
but somehow ‘où sont les neiges d'antan'
sounds too noble a note of dole
for a sullying mash of blood and chitin.
(And we can't hear what the bats are screaming.)

Comments about Bat Soup

There is no comment submitted by members.

Rating Card

5 out of 5
0 total ratings

Other poems of ADCOCK

Happy Ending

After they had not made love
she pulled the sheet up over her eyes
until he was buttoning his shirt:
not shyness for their bodies- those

Leaving the Tate

Coming out with your clutch of postcards
in a Tate gallery bag and another clutch
of images packed into your head you pause
on the steps to look across the river

Mrs Baldwin

And then there's the one about the old woman
who very apologetically asks the way
to Church Lane, adding 'I ought to know:

The Man Who X-Rayed An Orange

Viewed from the top, he said, it was like a wheel,
the paper-thin spokes raying out from the hub
to the half-transparent circumference of rind,
with small dark ellipses suspended between.


The spuggies are back -
a word I lifted from Basil Bunting
and was never entirely sure how to pronounce,
having only seen it in print, in Briggflatts,

The Belly Dancer

Across the road the decorators have finished;
your flat has net curtains again
after all these weeks, and a ‘To Let' sign.