“Bird species are disappearing at a scarcely conceivable rate.”
(‘Muscicapa Striata: The Spotted Flycatcher’)
Each spring as you stack up they journey north,
re-lay that nest in your old garden wall.
You catch them at their ease, such elegance;
ash brown above a creamy dappled breast.
They dart and twist, snap insects on the wing,
turn deftly back to where they started from.
Eggs warm to touch, as sheer as porcelain;
flecked shades of gilded bronze, the Midas brush.
Each year they leave, conceive strange distances,
exotic latitudes you’ve never seen.
You’ve flown and your old habitat’s turned down,
six houses scheme. No summer guests these days.
That’s progress, you concede, fast in the fourth
dimension where your travellers still breed.
Peter Branson, UK