Life flashes

A bird darts into the cover of a hedge,
beak loaded, building or feeding,
a secret existence, lived at my back door,
constant companions, black balladeers.

Red breasted vaudevillians, minstrels
and black hooded villains.
I fell once. Not far but fast, from a cliff face,
betrayal of rock and clay the earth giving way.

I grabbed vegetation, sharp serrated stone,
ripped out finger nails, scrubbed knees to the bone.
views change rapidly in those chaotic seconds
The bird reappears, she peers at me quizzically.

A neighbour’s cat curls into a marmalade missile,
I scat bird and cat. The bird will live
(Just as I did.)
to rear her young, while the cat remains hungry.

Space and stars kaleidoscope, weightless
ahead and behind loose balance and air hold still
A vacuum, the history of the world is rewritten
I live, children are born, my tribe marches on

I stand back from high edges now,
my fright reactionary but real,
I am uncertain what I hide from most
danger of falling or temptation of jumping.

The bird sings, songs of sunset,
I beg her wings and the gift of flight.

-Dave Kavanagh

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