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.autumnaviarycoalition of the willingfountainiceLimestonemulti-nationalpredatorsquarrySouth Africawarwinter