In praise of city starlings
Bloomin’ starlings, what a racket, Mum always
grumbled if we were in town when you arrived,
heard you above car horns and screeching brakes
but I loved you, freckle-feathered Brummie-birds.
Convoys of cheeky chatterers, slick-winged gliders
on flight paths for bright lights and bare roof-tops.
Flash-Harrys from leafy suburbs who landed at dusk
in tight formation, claimed the soot-grained eaves
of redbrick buildings while shoppers and workers
queued at bus stops or hurried to station platforms.
You raised your voices in shrill persistent one-note
whistles that wheeled the city’s hub, grew higher
as night fell and day’s loose skeins were gathered.
Suddenly you hushed, roosted in twitchy huddles.