Plight of the Sand Martins

This is a true story of the sand martins’ plight
on their annual return to the Norfolk coast
to nest and lay eggs after a strenuous flight.

Is human comfort more valuable than the right
of birds endangered by nets and posts?
This is a true story of the sand martins’ plight.

Erosion threatens a village and a strategic site
where gas is processed; they are also host
to sand martins after thousands of miles of flight.

They burrow in cliffs and dunes away from light,
a safe place every year for them to nest:
this year they’ve become the sand martins’ plight.

What was for centuries a bird watcher’s delight
and home for sand martins has been erased;
nowhere to lay eggs after a strenuous flight.

But there are still humans who will take up the fight
on behalf of wildlife, who will voice their protest.
This is a true story of the sand martins’ plight,
let them nest and lay eggs after a strenuous flight.

Kim M. Russell, 11th April 2019

Image result for bacton Sand martins
Image found on

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar Toolkit: Rhymes and Slant Rhymes

Grace is our host this week, supporting our Villanelle poetry form with a feature on the use of rhyme, especially end rhyme and slant rhyme as poetic devices.

She starts with an overview in answer to the question ‘what is rhyme?’ and then goes on to differentiate between the different kinds of rhyme, with examples and links where one can find rhymes.

For our session today, she asks us to refer to our fourth poetry form challenge, Villanelle, and to try utilizing slant rhymes in a Villanelle. She also asks us to take the time to read and comment on the later entries.

I’ve written a new Villanelle about a story that has been in the regional and national news this week, which has happened not far from where I live.

12 thoughts on “Plight of the Sand Martins

  1. I really enjoyed your take on the form; your slant rhymes, and word changes in the refrains enhance the feel and impact of the piece. We have sand pipers, but not martins it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Glenn. I believe sandpipers are waders and build their nests out in the open, whereas sand martins are the smallest European hirundines (martins and swallows) that nest in colonies: they excavate tunnels in sandy, dry vertical banks in sand pits and gravel pits, railway cuttings, riverbanks and cliffs. Birds are important members of the population up here in North Norfolk,


  2. Yes, I read about these birds and I believe they took out the netting so they can lay their eggs after an uproar. I hate it when we humans intervene with the cycle of nature such as these birds migration and nesting.

    I admire the slight variations in the repetitive lines and end words, as it moves the theme smoothly along.One wouldn’t suspect this was written in the villanelle form. Welcome back Kim.

    Liked by 1 person

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