Clare Pollard: Featured Poet

Clare Pollard


Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe

The Wren is cunning.  Soul of the Oak, the Druid-bird.
He trills: steal my eggs and there’ll be lightning.

The Crow is known as Badb Catha, the Phantom Queen
who tends to warriors, gland and liver.  She is the Terror.

The Swan hisses, hisses.  Even her neck is a twisted S.
She’s resident, common, depressed.  She was once a princess.

The Nightingale has a buff eye-ring, she’s tiny and brown
to hide from Tereus the hawk, who cuts out tongues.

And the white-headed, silver-cloaked Heron by the canal
is a wizard scrying in glass – there’s a fish he cannot catch

but she’s something else. Because of this, he loves her.



Clare Pollard was born in Bolton in 1978 and lives in London.  Her first collection of poetry, The Heavy-Petting Zoo was written whilst she was still at school, and received an Eric Gregory Award. It was followed by Bedtime and Look, Clare! Look!, which was made a set text on the WJEC A-level syllabus.  Her fourth collection Changeling (Bloodaxe, 2011) is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

Clare’s play The Weather (Faber, 2004) premiered at the Royal Court Theatre.  Her radio documentary ‘My Male Muse’(2007) was a Radio 4 Pick of the Year, and she recently co-wrote the radio play Surface to Air with WN Herbert. Clare’s new version of the Heroides by Ovid will be published as Ovid’s Heroines by Bloodaxe in May 2013.


6 thoughts on “Clare Pollard: Featured Poet”

  1. Love the whole thing. Especially the crow couplet and the wonderful ending with the heron and the un-catch-able fish. Liked learning about the “Badb Catha”. I am a lover of Corvids and spend much of my life eyeing crows (and being eyed by them).

  2. There’s is so much in the last three lines of this poem that it makes me want to go back and keep reading the whole thing again. Thank you for a great read.

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