Friday, August 3, 2007

Bird dance

On fine evenings we would stand by the canal
And watch the dance begin.

At first a few stray sparrows, like formation spitfires,
Would turn and swirl and swirl and turn
Above the multinational plant.
More would join and more and still more,
As summonsed by vespers bell
Or a conductor’s baton,
Until a full third of the sky
Was blocked out by a massive cloud
That rolled and fluttered, swirled and turned
Like a giant flag waved gaily.
And we would stand and watch in awe
This great primeval homage to the day
Until as if by whistle called,
The birds dispersed like shrapnel.

When I hadn’t seen them for a while,
I questioned a sad-eyed man sitting on the lock,
Who said:
The owner of the multinational plant,
Compelled to be seen to act
By his shit-strewn employees,
Hired a man with a hawk, or a falcon
(He didn’t know which)
And this bird, shooting fish in a barrel,
Dispersed the flock and broke up the dance
Like a Gard unplugging an amp.

Sometimes I imagine myself a lark
Sitting high atop a purple cloud,
Gazing down with beady eye upon
The streams of cars that conga to this plant
From all points of the compass.
And I wonder how long it will be
Before a hook-nosed man
Besplattered by shareholders’ flak
Puts an end to this crazy dance.

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