On Columba Livia

Her head is like a dobber’s dart, bobbing and prodding
In currents of early morning frost. Ripples caused,
So rarely still, unable to keep a focussed cast,
The muscles of her neck constantly throb;

Electrical impulses neither ending nor start;
Wound up like a watch on the wrist of Hermes,
Agitating time in the dowry of her feathered frock
As she pecks for worms on the waterlog,

Ignorant to his fury for time unkept.
Three tones of Lowry’s Salford grey, white under-wing,
Belly compacted with gizzards and ducts,
A chamber for such things you would not touch:

Digested seeds, and a mouldy dead moth.
Not enough skill for competitions or tippler’s broth,
Not enough of green necklace and shimmering gloss,
Those colours to years and frontiers lost.

Too old for squab, I look again from my writing desk
And off she has flown, to monogamy and the ignominy of pests;
A heavy mist descends above the lawn beyond the door;
I close my eyes and fight against that which once I saw.

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