28. Birds

They pit their nest of mud and spit
along the eaves, from which they skip
and dart, to twirl the sky,
chirrup a riot, twitter the twilight.

The black and smart, two ravens, the rogues,
wiseguys, nodding their trot,  
skew their squint, to seize you up,
and screech the designs they aim to plot.

A stork stands solid, Zen master, composed.
Balanced on a single stalk,
his also orange beak tucked into
the down, the bulge of his chest, solemn sentinel.

The heron, senior barrister, attired
in tails, sleek grey silk, fixated stare,
not a feather moves, rapier poised,
masking his dream of succulent froglets.  

Pigeons waddle around to parade their
fatness, their softness and neon shine,
pick the crumbs that pensioners sprinkle,
and irritatingly fail to finish their coo.

Gulls, pirates of the air, tug and tear
plastic bags, flick and strew the refuse,
chase even the ravens from the corpses
plastered into slits of bricks on the road.

Insulation has driven the sparrows
away from the nooks and crannies of old houses.
In twittering community they dived into
hedges, to hide and seek a new home.

A burgling team of magpies, disguised in tuxedo,
lever the length of their tail, to dip into
caches of glitter, to behold and rip off.
They once stole a ring of my wife.      

On the canal, the ducks, jowly,
rounded, yap and snap the time of day,
waggle in line across the street,
to dip in again and paddle their fleet.

Sitting on the highest top of tree or parapet,
the blackbird yodels its refrain,
lures the echo from afar
from its mate, in the same quatrain.

The owl of Minerva flies at night,
wisdom on the wing, in silent flight.
Targets by sound, for lack of light,
her talon vise the terror of mice.

Starlings manage to share the magic
waves of collective flight that turn and twist,
darken and alight as they swerve to shift
the lines of sight that trace their drift.