Julia Bird

Image by Caroline Forbes

Radio at Night

Radio at Night

When sleep won't stop a dripping tap,
won't warm your feet or keep the burglars at bay,
the radio at night is here.
Radio at night is populous
with plays and sport and life insurance ads,
the radio's a place where Parliament
is passing laws, where orchestras
play lullabies and local DJs host a quiz
where every caller wins a prize.
Pirates rig their decks in tower blocks
to buffet you with heart-shake bass
and taxi drivers, when the sky is clear,
crackle, book a pick-up, fade.
The weather voice, unwavering, avows
there will be rain but it will pass ; then
live on air a band begins to play, unplugged,
a song of buckled love set right so sweet
you slow dance from the ankles down.

Count the stations, number off the staff
it takes to play the tunes, to speak the lines,
to talk and comfort the insomniac.
To pause and check each channel on the range :
it feels tonight like gathering in the flock.

from Hannah and the Monk (Salt, 2008), © Julia Bird 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher.


Julia Bird

Julia Bird Reading from her poems

1Article of Faith

2Jim Fixed it For Me

3Time, Ladies, Please

4The World's Population Visits the Isle of Wight

5This Much is Almost Guaranteed


7White Horse

8Covent Garden

9Five Years Trying to Win the Flower Show Vegetable Animal Class

10As The Peacock

11Paper Stars

12From Crammond Beach

13Fire in a Crowded Theatre

14Your Grandfather Would Have Wanted You to Have This

15I Really Should Quit, But


17Magnetic Translation: poetry one one sex

18The Animals Went in Two by Two

19Next Door Girl



22Hannah and the Monk

23Radio at Night

24What I Would Like is a Birdcage


26Souchong Sevenling

27Supersize Sevenling

28Orange Pips

29But They Wouldn't Want Us to Go Hungry


31Pure Maths

32Breathing Pattern

33This Does Me for Snow

34The Preservation of Flowers

35To Be Shone on His Body


37Love Poem with Artemia Nyos

38Victoria Street Reel