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A long section of the grassy bank beside

the ornamental lake is roped-off –

a pair of Canada Geese is nesting,

the first in the history of the Park

with its long-serving Coots and Mallards.

We sit on a bench and contemplate the geese –

almost as big as Mute Swans; adept

colonisers, considered still, after

three hundred years, non-native; this chance pair

perhaps blown off course between raucous lagoons.


We are distracted by raised voices

from the opposite bank – three picnickers

on a rug in the April sunshine,

a young woman and perhaps her parents.

Between the murmur of the older woman’s

responses and the man’s rumblings, we hear

occasional words from the impassioned

young woman: ‘…moral compass…out of control…

no time limit…crimes against humanity…

Iraq…Afghanistan…Northern Ireland!!…’


At our feet an Ivy Bee – a much newer

immigrant than the geese, landing where Hitler

and Napoleon were expected,

and moving a little further north

year by year – is making a nest in the bank.

Finished it disappears into the earth,

leaving a perfectly circular mound

of grains of sandy soil – a solitary,

relentless labourer, a bee for our times.







© Copyright David Selzer

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