by Portia Burton
Startled by the noise I rush to the window
To see many birds perched all around
On the nearbytrees and the mute buildings,
Beautiful in their plumage in warm sunshine,
Flaunting wonderful colours of various hues:
Splashed with yellow or red or gold or orange,
Or black or grey or white or soft blues;
Their round eyes bulged with brightness and wonder,
All of them are twittering loudly, as if in anger,
As if wanting to slash through the gentle morning breeze,
They are crying stridently, with sheer vehemence,
Not bothering about shattering the peace,
Or to be in discord with each other,
Yet they are crying as if in unison,
And all of them are gazing in one direction.
I follow their gaze and see on the pavement,
Two urchins kicking about a dead bird,
Laughing aloud merrily to see its feathers scatter.
Then suddenly like a bolt from high above,
A large bird, perhaps a kite, swiftly swoops down,
Scaring away the urchins, it picks up the dead bird,
And soars away high in the sky to be seen no more.
The sitting birds, stunned for a moment in dead silence,
Take up angrily once again their wailing refrain.
©Portia Burton 2012