Of All the Birds
The magpie I like least,
who took my wedding ring
thinking it was his
to hide it in his nest
along with glass and pins
and other shining things.
In the pine wood which grows on the sand dune at Es Grau
rumour has it there are nightingales. Clematis we did find,
thick yellow and gold like honey turned back into flowers,
along with sea-holly and white lilies in the perpetual shade.
Eventually I decided on the field
planted with winter wheat, although
the farmer would crucify me if he saw.
It was all down to my kite needing
space not possible in our valley,
although the ground was sodden,
and a trek to the centre hard going.
A peewit kept me company, broken-
winged and weeping, Over here!
tempting me into some act of violence.
Never mind, as long as her plan saved
the nest with its clutch of speckled eggs.
One you showed me nested
on the far side of a waterfall,
another in what became a scrap
of air when the current rose.
In all events the dipper marks
his passage with a flinty note
scraped against the softer sound
of everything that water does.
Then ups and quits his rock
to walk along the river’s bed,
as if a living soul had found
a way to haunt the dead.
When it came to leaving
I went with the cormorant
flying well below the radar
and breasting the muddy lake.
Down the road was his double
at home on a rotting fence-post;
shabby wings hung out to dry
closed in the breeze of my passing.