The Dipper

By Kathleen Jamie b. 1962 Kathleen Jamie
It was winter, near freezing,   
I'd walked through a forest of firs   
when I saw issue out of the waterfall   
a solitary bird.   

It lit on a damp rock,   
and, as water swept stupidly on,   
wrung from its own throat   
supple, undammable song.   

It isn't mine to give.   
I can't coax this bird to my hand   
that knows the depth of the river   
yet sings of it on land.

Source: Poetry (June 2004).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2004 issue of Poetry magazine

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June 2004
 Kathleen  Jamie


Born in the west of Scotland, Kathleen Jamie studied philosophy at Edinburgh University. At 19 she won the prestigious Eric Gregory Award, which enabled her to explore the Himalayas, and at 20 she published her first poetry collection, Black Spiders (1982).

Jamie resists being identified solely as a Scottish poet, a woman writer, or a nature poet. Instead, she aims for her poetry to “provide a sort of connective tissue,” as she . . .

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Poems by Kathleen Jamie

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Landscapes & Pastorals, Winter, Nature, Animals


Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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