birds

On Escaping from Nature

The birds are at it again,
arguing about Brexit
from their branches;

the smug song of a starling,
the crows’ cry
of blue murder,

and the inexpert chatter
of a so-called chaffinch.
Across the street,

a dog cocks its leg
against a lamppost
in protest against

the chronic neglect
of the National Health Service.
A leaf lies ignored

on the pavement
it slept on last night,
and dreams of home.

Further out,
in surrounding fields,
cows hold seminars

on the refugee crisis
and the pigs debate
what to do about Syria.

Goats stare bleakly
from desolate crags,
remembering Trump.

Soon it will be time
for the penguins to march
against global warming.

I do what I can
to keep nature at bay,
drown it out

with radio or TV,
find refuge
in the tranquillity of Twitter.

But it’s late now
and outside
I can hear the owls

calling parliament
into session
once more.

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Christmas is the Thing with Feathers

Crow: look at that, look, would you.
There he is again. Adonis, adored, adorning,
season’s greeting, tweeting, oi, stop it.

O my bleedin’ heart. Bleedin’ erithacus rubecula,
syphiliticus rubik’s cube, rub him out,
ooh rubbish. Sticking the ol’ chest out. Cor!

Bless him and his red breast. Ah. Stick him
on your cards. All wintry, ain’t he? All Christmassy.
All snowy and chirpy and chipper. Git.

Don’t put crow on your cards. No, not crow.
Crow with his blackness. Crow and his filth.
Not unfestive, festering Crow, oi, stop it.

But I seen him, erithacus rubecula.
Arithmeticulous dracula. I seen him with worms.
All writhing and wriggling and squirming

and rotting away in his oh so pretty beak
above his oh so pretty blood red breast,
mayhem, murder. Robbing ’em of life.

Stick that on a card and send it to yer nan.

Whither the Linnet in the Birch Tree Yonder?

Whither the linnet
in the birch tree yonder?

For the linnet, I am fonder
than my mum was of her Honda
Civic
(which, incidentally, I also thought terrific).

Some cry
BRING BACK THE BIRCH!
but I’m glad to say
this one has never gone away
unlike the linnet
which used to live in it.

Perhaps he’ll be back in a minute.

O mighty birch
grown from the humble acorn,
rarely the cause of arboreal scorn!
One should never besmirch
the magnificent birch!

O beautiful linnet
with mouth of beak
and wings of feather!
Was your name Dennis or Sarah
or Susan or Trevor?

Threep Cheep Thhhreeep.
Threep Cheep Thhhreeep Pyyonng.
No more will I hear your beautiful song.

But hark who is it that now comes along?
Why, the linnet is back
with flaps sure and strong!

Hang on, what’s that?
I’ve got this all wrong?
It seems my knowledge of trees
remains somewhat poor
and that’s not a proud birch
but a stupid sycamore.
And apparently
that’s not even a linnet.
It’s a chaffinch, you say,
innit?