Occupations of garden birds

a pure thrush word (Edward Thomas)


Crow. Street sweeper. Always there.

Magpies – out to lunch.

two wood pigeons are nuisance callers,

a collared dove, my Grandma, an Edwardian

lady living in my children’s children

but they, aged thirteen, will not be

steam pressers in a Yorkshire woollen mill

yet will encounter similar trials

and no doubt weather them. With millstone grit.

Swallow, memory, and swift, a fleeting memory;

Blue tit, coal tit, long-tailed tit… just kids,

wren, small, overly loud, ignorable, a car alarm.

Seven starlings sqabbling, your mind at four a.m.,

the brambling – fearing to be sent away.

Jackdaws, all your cousins at a family do.

Sparrows, volunteers at the charity shop.

Goldcrest. The chance of winning
on the scratchcard that you impulse-bought
at the garage checkout. Never! But that flash!

Red kite at sky height, something in surveillance,

Chaffinches, a short stand-up routine,

Greenfinch, merchant bankers,

Blackbird, gold digger, street singer on some days.

Songthrush. Does not quite exist – except to be

the voice of the big old newly-minted tree,

pouring its notes into the cup of day

clear honey into Waterford cut glass

arresting. Robin; post-it note.

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