My Poem ‘The Dissimulation of Birds’

Have you ever walked past a hedge,
or a bush, a nest, or a tree,
and heard the tweets, the chirping,
the calls, the teachering of birds
being all that you can hear;
have you ever had a bird come up close to you,
and not for a second show and signs
of agitation, or fear;
have you ever seen a murmuration of starlings at dusk,
and been awestruck by the immense number, speed,
and constantly changing shapes it makes;
have you ever come face to beak
with a raven from the Tower of London,
and been so astonished by it and its interest in you
that you can’t and don’t want to look away.

The life of birds happens right along-side
the life of everything else on Earth,
independently, but occasionally overlaps;
the life of birds, the society of birds,
is self-sustaining, and it is an existence
that is at-one with nature and the seasons of Earth;
the life of birds requires impeccable memory,
instincts, and spatial orientation,
and a geographical blue-print in the form
of an incredible, second to none, internal map;
the life of birds is knowing
not just the distinct language of your own species
and recognizing it at a moments call,
but also knowing the voice of another class of bird,
and their potential intentions from a single chirp.

At dawn is when you will hear,
but not necessarily see, the majority of songbirds
that sing in chorus with one-another,
to make the most of the magical and beautiful sounds –
hearing the natural and amazing voice and melody,
while seeing the spectacular phenomena of a sunrise,
is a divine and wonderful experience that always astounds.

Different birds have different nests,
and every birds learns in time how to build a home
and a bed for themselves and for their mate and offspring;
different birds live different lives –
some regularly migrate to different
and recurring places and countries,
some stay the whole time in the country they first fledged,
and return to the same nests where they hatched, time after time.

Birds, as a collective species,
are one of the most intelligent and highly-evolved
forms of life on our planet;
birds have so many gifts to be envied –
I have always been fascinated by their freedom to go anywhere
with the miracle that they have of instantaneous flight;
I am convinced that birds convey more between themselves
than anybody in any language of humanity could ever convey in words.
If you ever want to see an incredible and beautiful thing
that speaks to our own need for independence
and interdependence you will see, hear, feel,
experience something special in a flock, a murder, a cloud,
a flight, a convocation, a charm, a congregation,
a watch, a dissimulation of birds.

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