Twelve magpies sat at the top of our tree.
You called me to them, you who rarely see
Or call me now. What brought their pied wings here?
It was the coldest night of winter’s frost.
Morning, they sailed the garden’s smoke. The ash
With one hunched pigeon, caught the first sun’s flare.
They chattered metal, squabbled, flirted, flew.
They are our English parrots, brash and new,
Night’s snow. What can they eat, with no shoots green?
The crows invaded sycamores next door.
A pigeon wheeled. Why did they come? Yet more
Landed, you left. I counted. Twelve, sixteen.
If you have any comments on this poem,
Alison Brackenbury would be
to hear them