A young wood pigeon, not much more than a

nestling seems, at first, to be sheltering,

from the almost Mediterranean heat,

in the short shadows cast by the pots

of lilies and lavender.  But, closer,

I see it is limping, its left foot damaged.

Seeing me, it hobbles out of sight

into an exotic, Sleeping Beauty-type

border of camellia, crocosmia,

rhododendron. Later, an adult bird

lands, walks the edge of the border,

its head bobbing, then flies away. Next morning,

the young bird lies dead by the side gate.


I bury it behind the gazebo

in an undergrowth of ferns and roses

by the back wall, where we have interred –

over forty years – a budgie, a young swift,

a crippled rat, a female hen harrier,

a severed mouse and now the pigeon.

A low body count by any mark.

This time I say, ‘Come, little pigeon,’ as I

load the corpse, which the flies have already found,

on a spade. Someone may discover the sets

of bones, reconstruct the skeletons

and make up a story.




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  1. #1 by Ian Craine - March 22nd, 2014 at 16:58

    Setting puzzles for future historians, eh? Perhaps a vet’s house once they will say, in the half hour they are given between the demolition of your house and the building of the glass offices of some social networking site as yet unheard of.

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