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We have made the longish walk from the car park

on the decking through the marsh marigolds.

Before us is a teeming shallow lagoon.

Beyond are mixed woods, pastoral farmland

and a white house on the ridge of what was

the coast of the estuary before

the river silted and the marsh grew.

Behind the hide is a railway embankment –

the thrum of the odd diesel from Neston

to Wrexham and back baffled by the noise

of the cacophonous colony

of black headed gulls nesting on a islet.

Unaided we spotted those – and a shelduck

with its fancy red stripe and two shovellers

with their iridescent heads but are helped

with avocet, black tailed godwits and ruff.


We are the OCD species. Each member

of this ‘parlement of foules’ has at least

two names and a full biography

in many languages. How self-absorbed

they are! A solitary, silent coot

seems oblivious of the flock of gulls.


Here are serious folk with serious gear –

some of it camouflaged – who speak in subdued

encyclopaedic tones: strangers, kindly

in this companionable wooden hut –

which is a testament to human

vision, diligence and engineering –

unafraid to talk to strangers in this

always now fearful, riven land with its

taxonomies of hate.




© Copyright David Selzer
1 Response
  • John Huddart
    May 24, 2016

    How privileged to be observing the avian and human subjects from the carefully constructed hide of this delightful poem!

    And, as in Animal Farm, we look from species to species and can hardly distinguish one from the other.

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