Six sparrows sit atop a thick leaved bush,
like beige feathery candles on a Christmas tree.
Frozen to the spot I look at them
as heads on one side they stare at me,
neither haughty nor curious.
Until as if summoned by a soft far off bell
they rise up over black iron spiked railings,
and wheel into the haze of a pallid noonday sun.
Up on the green along the edge of the cliff
a herring gull dances, stamping his feet
in ever turning circles, a winged Dervish
not whirling but tottering in the wet grass.
Greedy eyes gleaming, his beak stabs down
as the worms bore up towards the surface,
desperate to escape the mimetic flood
orchestrated by this plump Machiavellian bird.
At shoulder height a flock of pigeons flies
along the Promenade, an avian battering ram
of close laid feathers, dun and biscuit,
smoke grey, bronze and iridescent blue.
Strong men blanche and leap for safety,
small children run screaming for mother,
while marooned in my wheel chair
I swear at today’s inexorable pinioned progress.
The air is full of the shrill agonised screams
of green parakeets hanging down side up
from swaying wires and sharp edged guttering,
and the hysterical barking of dogs
ever eager to join the hilarious melée.
Only the black disdainful Promenade Cat,
whiskers quivering and anxious bushy tail twitching,
abandons the affray for a quiet cushion and a piscine tea.
Just another ordinary December day
in the long life of our genteel old seaside town