Witness to a Kill

I’m witness to a massacre –
Unwitting and unknowing –
Upon my tiny balcony
Where fledgling life was growing.
 
A pigeon chose our shielded nook
To make her nest and lay her eggs;
Two squawking chicks had soon appeared,
All skin and spikes, all beaks and legs.
 
Our proud new mum was diligent
As back and forth she fussed and flew;
She fed them well, they sprouted wings,
Their motley feathers grew.
 
We used to wake and listen to
Their urgent, hungry cries;
Who knew that tragedy would strike
And leave us heaving saddened sighs?
 
It happened on a lunchtime break:
I ventured out to take a look,
And as I stepped out on the ledge
I frightened off a jet-black rook.
 
I froze and gazed in disbelief
At feathers scattered all around;
Yet still I hoped that I was wrong,
Until I saw blood on the ground.
 
The two grey chicks were ripped to shreds,
Just guts and gore were left to show;
Their carcasses were hollowed out,
Their brave new wings had grown too slow.
 
Right in that moment, raged welled up –
A bitter bile of blackbird hate;
All I could think in my distress
Was that I’d come too late … too late.
 
I cleared the scene as best I could –
Put carnage into plastic bags;
It felt undignified as they
Went in the bin like shredded rags.
 
Later that day, the mum returned –
I watched to see what she would do;
She looked … and looked … it broke my heart –
It’s like she knew, I’m sure she knew.
 
The rook has come back several times;
I do not harbour ill will still,
For Nature’s kind and Nature’s cruel
And I – a witness to a kill.
 

Wayne Visser © 2011

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 Page Wishing Leaves (book)

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