Saturday, June 17, 2006
The bird house, in the shape of a western-town dental office
Has hung vacant for the last two seasons,
Just as countless others,
Which were chosen and positioned with care and hope.
Its shutters and signs are now off kilter
For the rains and intense summer sun
Have bleached and warped the thin wood,
So now looking derelict and abandoned
This year for the first time
It is fit for occupation.
It was the gentle swaying motion on a still Spring-morning
That alerted me to this premier.
From the verandah the unending forays for food
Could be watched as each parent
Peered out, flew to the trellis, where the white rose bramble
Has started to clutter the canopy,
And then on and up to the fragrant pittesporum
Before rocketing away to the hillside trees.
Each return is accompanied by announcing chirps
Which are especially forced if the cat is in sight.
From full beaks the tireless mouths gobble,
Somewhere in the concealment,
And dross laden, each adult departs for another round.
Never before had my offered home been chosen,
Never had I witnessed the laden beaks day after day
Feeding God’s unseen miracle.
Then, on a June afternoon my backstroke was interrupted
By relentless squawked chattering.
One of the adult birds was darting here and there
From the strings of the hanging geranium pots,
And from the pool-side I watched as four coerced fledglings
Tottered and fluttered, first to the Badminton net and
Then across to the orange tree before jerking upward
Away to the shaded branches on a maiden flight.
Just one hovered down to the ground
In disoriented surprise.
To its place with watchful eyes I ran,
Scouting the lawn for our tom.
Nervous and confused it too soared off to safety
And the twittering chorus in the dark broad leaves.