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Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Dip dip dip, fussy-insistent,
an avocet’s beak. Enough
is never enough: why can’t you
savour your food?

This man in the hide has been here
ten hours among avocets,
oystercatchers and redshanks:
he knows why.

Thumbnail-sized black frogs
sprinting, which is to say inching
along the path don’t know
but still come

tumbling into the rushes
where the rabbits come too.
Safe at last! Which is to say
ready to die

at an avocet’s beak, the frogs
that is, who understand
nothing. Hawks come
for the rabbits,

and they too understand nothing,
the rabbits, dying, devoured.
The hawks on the telegraph pole

when a train of thought has gone on
long enough. Dinner is served,
the white rumps by the ditch

and the vegetarian hawk
can go without. More
than that they can take or leave.

You they’re not bothered with.
Strictly speaking your sandwich
isn’t part of the food chain.
In fact you’re not here.

Beak goes down, tail up,
beak tip up too. Superb.
Solder this basin of twilight,

each lucky-dip splash.
Except ten hours is enough.
The wellingtoned twitchers have flown.
(I know a good pub.)

But it’s never enough. First
there’s a marsh to be drained. Splash.

Dip dip dip. Slurp.
I’ll drink to that.

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