Under a steel net – sponsored by a multi-
national – in a disused limestone quarry
were all of South Africa’s birds, except
The black warden softly extolled the aviary’s
human values: calm, peace, gentleness.
How well he knew each of the inhabitants:
who delved, wove, fluttered, chattered, nested,
hatched, fed – and defended abundantly.
At home, damp autumn turned to cold winter,
birds pecked at the ice on the stilled fountain
and the coalition of the willing
prepared for war.