House Martins

below the roof edge
on a jutting ledge
flash of feathered legs
returning to eggs
between hawthorn hedge
and the young they fledge

Kim M. Russell, 2017

House Martins

House Martins by Mark Kilner from the Springwatch Flickr group, found on

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar – Lai it on!

Victoria is our host today and she has challenged us to write a lai, also known as a lay larique or lyric lay. It is a lyrical, narrative poem written in octosyllabic couplets, which often deals with tales of adventure and romance.

Victoria would like us to follow Robert Lee Brewer’s version: a nine-line poem or stanza with the rhyme pattern: aabaabaab. The lines with an ‘a’ rhyme use 5 syllables, while the ‘b’ rhyme lines have 2 syllables. Robert Lee Brewer says ‘it feels kind of like organized skeltonic verse’.

I had to use half-rhyme in the middle section as it was difficult to find further suitable full-rhymes with ‘edge’ and ‘ledge’!


50 thoughts on “House Martins

  1. Terrific bang-on rocking of the prompt ! Damn, you ain’t afraid of no Lai. We have swallows here as well. Your poem sports style & a smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Glenn. I was apprehensive at first – it took a while to get into the rhythm and then the rhyme bamboozled me for a bit. I wanted to write about house martins because we had some above the conservatory of a bungalow we lived in before we moved here and I used to love watching them build their nests. One year there was a particularly bad storm and the nest was blown and washed onto the conservatory roof, but back they came and built it again!


    1. It’s not a form I would normally write in – it’s a bit strict for me – and it took a while to get the hang of it. Thank you for saying it’s thoughtful!


  2. This reminds me of the bluebird nest at my son’s. He can actually go near the nest, mama flies up into a tree and watches him, and he can lift out the nest (the bird builds it in a special bluebird “house” he has with a drawer that pulls out which the nest is built on) and we can look at the beautiful eggs. Once the birds hatch, he doesn’t do that but he still can pull down the “door” so you can look in. And then at a certain point (number of days), he can’t do that anymore as the little ones are too big and might venture out when not ready. It’s a fascinating process and they do it several times a year. “house birds” — 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t know how those Martin’s manage. I’m glad they work so hard. They eat lots of things I dom’t care for at all. You expressed parenthood well. They say insanity is genetic. You get it from your kids

    Liked by 1 person

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