Bird

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.

Head dress

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.

 

Caged – buy free range

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.

September in Shropshire

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.