There, decked in eiderdown, you lay counterpaned,
teased by a tide neither in or out,
held, for now, by four corners of an empty room,
inhabited only by the reluctant heartbeat of a sea bird,
aching to be airborne, or at least tethered no more.
Quietly, I awaited your departure, and wished your feet
be warm and your mouth be moist, wished most
your two new wings be sound and strong.
And I waited all night at that harbour wall
then set a breakfast plate, to see you fly again.
As the sun poured grains upon the crooked earth
I danced with our memories, and thought you smiled.
Then you untied me from your wrist, so gently;
and my eyes spread a mist over imperfections.
Thin limbs, sore lips and chest feathers a-tremble
you stood and turned to breath the ebbing waves.
Oh, I might have intervened, but you could only fly
whilst I must walk along the beach and meet you by and by.
To Summer, the fragile three-feather head dress
is a reminder of a vision she once wore,
of a sparkling pool, a seed picnic strewn with friends,
and she a glorious Bird of Paradise.
But to Summer’s lover, as his autumn approaches,
that wretched flash of white feathers
is an imposition, a symbol of southward flight,
a triad of bright hopes waiting to be dashed –
the sky high damage potential of impermanent bliss.
If feather-bare we toured our plight
round Britain’s eleven thousand and seventy two
wire free mile circumference bringing eggs to you
we wing-clipped osteoporosised amputees
struggling along in twos and threes
to bring you scrawny chicken stew
we wouldn’t make a pretty sight
we know you wouldn’t like to see
so we’ll crouch in A4 cages without light
to lay those guilty eggs tonight.
Red Kites slice twilight skies:
waiters serving cloud cup cakes
upon fine forked tails
In our English country garden
morning arrives for breakfast
clothed in misty vagueness
to find arachnid market traders
already skilfully threading
silver baskets between bushes where
a snail’s early yawning turns the head
of a song thrush hoarse from dawn
dew drying in the wan sun smiling
weakly at Fuchsia drunk on rich ruby pallet
who bow to orange Montbretia and ageing
Buddleia bracing itself for the arrival
of those blooming butterfly and bee
bounders regardless of a definite
chill we sit thin jacketed drinking
coffee and eating bread spread
with cherry plum jam ruminating
on the day ahead and the need for
autumn preparation and repair.
am a bright green parrot hiding in the leaves.
cannot always see my brilliant colours.
am not tethered to a particular tree, leaf or twig.
do not shift according to your mood.
speak in swirls, but sometimes you only hear me squawk.
need not listen.
am no less lovely when your heart is closed.
Busy, nest protecting bird,
Four in the morning is absurd;
No cat or crow is near my eave,
To take your babies if you leave.
But jump you will upon my sill
Oh busy bird, be still, be still.
the early spring church hall bird
stirs our stewing tea.