top of page

Flashmob in Goldfinch & Brass

Sarah Wallis

Goldfinch gossip on the seawall, peck to treat

and charm the passerine way, filling in as backing

group to the park bandstand, where the brass section

tune up for the Ode to Joy, just as the percussionist

crashes his cymbals and all are sent into silence

to begin, quietly for brass, so the birds tremulous,

tuneful warble floats for a moment, above

the rising rumble of gathering sound, above trumpet,

trombone, tuba, and euphonium, until redcaps,

the siskins in their midst, must desist and open

wide mouths to sing astonishment

at such a sound, we find it here too, in this moment,

the Ode overwhelming, over-spilling our own

capacity to be contained out here in the open, where

old men at chess cry freely, nannies and children stamp

their feet in time, their charges swing from lampposts,

conducting wildly and as the rousing drumbeats ring

out the finale, the green, green world erupts into cheers,

into thunderous applause

and the finches ghost fast, flash red and gold, depart.

About the Author

Sarah Wallis is a poet based in Scotland. Recent work is at Beir Bua, The Madrigal, and Spectra, and forthcoming in The Broken Spine and Inksounds with original music. She has two chapbooks, Medusa Retold from Fly on the Wall Press and Quietus Makes an Eerie from Dancing Girl Press, with How to Love the Hat Thrower due next year from Selcouth Station. She tweets @wordweave and you can find out more at

bottom of page