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Pascale Petit: a poem

Photograph by Saily Gokhale

Indian Paradise Flycatcher

your tail two comets

of ice crystals

your face a night-

blue sheen

as if dipped

in starlight

your wings snowdrifts

from a past climate

you descend

in a heat haze

and when you dip

into a pool

you're a pen


on a mirror

a flick of flakes


a jet's contrails

telling us

about a sun fuelled

by frost

Too fast for my eye

your tail streamers

weave an alphabet

to cool the earth

you dinosaur-relic

little white flag

from the Holocene

Pascale’s eighth collection, Tiger Girl, published by Bloodaxe in 2020, won an RSL Literature  Matters Award while in progress. Her seventh collection Mama Amazonica, published by Bloodaxe in 2017, won the Royal Society of Literature’s 2018 Ondaatje Prize. Four of Pascale’s earlier collections were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. In 2018 she was appointed as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.


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