Starlings

Hear that?

The deranged fluting

Of squabbling neighbours

In hedgerows, on bushes

Ceaseless bickering

An endless stream

Of chiding and chipping

Away one moves

The others follow

From pillar to post

To willow to fence

Unable to let rest

Whatever the matter be

Resolved or not

There’s always more to add

Or subtract from what’s already said

Not happy until everyone’s unhappy

Are the anti-sociable

Flocking, mocking starlings

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CLP 30/05/2020

Cranes Fly

It was a call like crows

But not those of crows

Even on their most talkative days

When whisked up by winds

When they chitter and churr

It was more musical than crows

Deeper tones balanced by middle notes

From behind the hedgerows

Beyond the browned ancient oaks

Low to the grey horizon

A stretched vee

Approximately formed

Unbalanced, but sharply led

Three, five, seven, nine in clear formation

With forty, fifty, sixty more

Lagging loosely in lines

Heading south

Warning of winter’s coming

Or dragging down

Its icy curtain?

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CLP 01/12/2019

Mobbed

This drab, dull day

Its natural sounds subdued by drizzle

Are cut through by her sharp cry above

Kehwee! Kehwee!

To her mate unseen, but somewhere near

Stirred up, crows lift from dark hearts of oaks

Gather as a loose assembled mob

A flight of five, or six, or more

Rough circle spreading, all alert

Seeking out the closing threat

Her superior gliding flight now disturbed

Rattling croaks at her wings and tail

She adjusts direction with a flicker

Stretches primaries to the furthest tips

And across the tree-marked hedgerows she slips

Sharply scanning the long-since mown

Damp pastures that spiral below

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CLP 17/11/2019