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Chorus

Professor David Morley performs 'Chorus'
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The poem 'Chorus' begins before dawn and ends with the sun’s rise. In performance, the chorus of the poem is spoken by the audience – at first in whispers and gradually getting louder and louder.

Professor David Morley is Head of the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, with special research interests in contemporary world poetry and poetry and the environment. Professor Morley said, "The past 15 years has seen Warwick become the poetry capital of England, not just in the number and quality of the poets who have come here, but in the many splendid graduates who have gone on to become renowned and award-winning poets, slammers and gifted spoken word artists."

Chorus

Professor David Morley

The song-thrush slams down gauntlets on its snail-anvil.
The nightjar murmurs in nightmare. The dawn is the chorus.
The bittern blasts the mists wide with a booming foghorn.
The nuthatch nails another hatch shut. The dawn is the chorus.
The merlin bowls a boomerang over bracken then catches it.
The capercaillie uncorks its bottled throat. The dawn is the chorus.
The treecreeper tips the trees upside down to trick out insects.
The sparrow sorts spare parts on a pavement. The dawn is the chorus.
The hoopoe hoops rainbows over the heath and hedgerows.
The wren runs rings through its throat. The dawn is the chorus.
The turnstones do precisely what is asked of them by name.
The wryneck and stonechats also. The dawn is the chorus.
The buzzards mew and mount up on the thermal’s thermometer.
The smew slide on shy woodland water. The dawn is the chorus.
The heron hangs its head before hurling down its guillotine.
The tern twists on tines of two sprung wings. The dawn is the chorus.
The eider shreds its pillows, releases snow flurry after snow flurry.
The avocet unclasps its compass-points. The dawn is the chorus.
The swallow unmakes the Spring and names the Summer.
The swift sleeps only when it’s dead. The dawn is the chorus.
The bullfinches feather-fight the birdbath into a bloodbath.
The wagtail wags a wand then vanishes. The dawn is the chorus.
The corncrake zips its comb on its expert fingertip.
The robin blinks at you for breakfast. The dawn is the chorus.
The rook roots into roadkill for the heart and the hardware.
The tawny owl wakes us to our widowhood. The dawn is the chorus.
The dawn is completely composed. The pens of its beaks are dry.
Day will never sound the same, nor night know which song wakes her.


Professor David Morley’s The Invisible Gift: Selected Poems was published by Carcanet this year. He has published The Gypsy and the Poet (Carcanet, 2013), a PBS Recommendation and a Morning Star Book of the Year; Enchantment (Carcanet, 2011), a Sunday Telegraph Book of the Year; The Invisible Kings (Carcanet, 2007) a PBS Recommendation and TLS Book of the Year. He was one of the judges of the 2012 T.S. Eliot Prize and the 2013 Foyle Young Poets of the Year. He is a Professor at Warwick University, where he is Head of English and Comparative Literary Studies, and adjunct Professor at Monash University, Melbourne.