Poet Feature - October 2020

Hi, my name is Julie (Priest), and I'm delighted to contribute to this new venture. Born and raised in East London, I worked for over 30 years in Libraries, in London and Essex, mainly as a Children's Librarian and a Manager, but later as an advocate of all the different services we could create and deliver for our customers.

I've been married for 32 years, and my husband Ian and myself are both animal lovers, having helped at a dog shelter in Greece for many years. Nowadays, we are happily retired (early!) and living in South West France and enjoying a very different pace of life!


I discovered a liking for poetry at a very young age, Spike Milligan and Edward Lear were two of my early favourites. I liked poems that made me laugh, but as I got older, I also loved those that were able to move me deeply. Words are so very powerful, and I love to be able to use them creatively to inspire. In my days as a Children's Librarian, poetry was always a 'good way in' to encourage reluctant readers too.

During lockdown I had many ideas for poems, but never committed them to paper, until now. This one came to be after a comment about how we all looked like a type of big bird in our masks...


The Age of the Bluebeaks

I’m just a little birdie,

Sitting high up in a tree.

I notice everything,

But you rarely glance at me.


I see a new type of big bird,

That you call the human race.

I call them the Bluebeaks,

With a mask upon their face.


Bluebeaks first appeared in the spring,

Covering up their nose and mouth.

With no real hopes of migration,

Forbidden to journey, north or south.


The world went into lockdown,

Which benefited me and mine.

It was then that nature claimed her right,

The Earth healing all the time.


At first Bluebeaks were solitary,

Not venturing out in pairs.

Being careful about everything,

‘Keep safe, stay indoors, be aware.’


Nothing that allowed mass gatherings,

All too easy to infect the flock.

With the changes, Bluebeaks were panicking,

Filling their nests with too much stock.


Bluebeaks are still mainly found inside,

Although many exist outdoors.

They are Bluebeaks by necessity,

To stop breaking any laws.

Some have never been Bluebeaks,

Refusing to wear the guise.

Claiming it is against their rights,

That they shouldn’t be penalized.


Not all the beaks are blue,

Some are patterned, grey or green.

Creative Bluebeaks are so clever,

Making muzzles on a sewing machine.


Bluebeaks are not a dying breed,

Although many have succumbed.

If the virus mutates once again,

What will your world become.


Bluebeaks have reached an uneasy norm,

They had to adapt to survive.

Now they must slowly surface again,

For their economies to revive.


So long live the Bluebeaks,

They may be here for years.

Learning to exist together,

Sharing their hopes and fears.


But I’m just a little birdie,

Sitting high up in a tree.

Still watching all the Bluebeaks,

Longing to fly free....