One for Sorrow: Ann Fisher-Wirth’s The Bones of Winter Birds

The Bones of Winter Birds
by Ann Fisher-Wirth
(Terrapin Books, 2019, 87 pp. $16)

Before even opening Ann Fisher-Wirth’s collection, I am confronted by a solitary magpie, perching on a wattle fence gate, in brilliant blue winter tones. “One for sorrow,” as the nursery rhyme goes. Impressionism enthusiasts will also immediately recognise this as Monet’s ‘The Magpie’, which is reflected in the poem ‘We Came Home over the Snowy Fields for Christmas’ with eerie precision:

‘We watched a magpie on a stile,
the sun sheen on its wings,
the light like diamonds in the snow’ (p. 58)