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Commensal with humans for 10,000 years,

since the first cultivation of barley

and wheat, the house sparrow, that communal

eater of insects and seeds, is ubiquitous –

from Kolkata to Coventry, Haifa

to Hawaii – sometimes a pest, a pet

or on a plate; a symbol of lechery

or vulgarity – but in decline here

because of pesticides perhaps

or mobile phones, car parks, unleaded petrol.


Certainly, we miss the small flocks in the shrubs

and their rapid, ceaseless chatterings.

A lone bird appears occasionally,

silent mostly but for the odd, ‘chirrup, chirrup’.

So, as Hamlet says, ‘…we defy augury.

There’s a special providence in the fall

of a sparrow… if it be not now,

yet it will come – the readiness is all.’




© Copyright David Selzer
1 Response
  • John Huddart
    May 1, 2014

    The end of all our innocence/innocents/innocencies.

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