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
Wishing Leaves: Favourite Nature Poems
This creative collection, now in its 3rd edition, brings together nature poems by Wayne Visser, celebrating the diversity, beauty and ever-changing moods of our planet. The anthology includes many old favourites like “I Think I Was a Tree Once” and “A Bug’s Life”, as well as brand new poems like “Monet’s Dream” and “The Environmentalist”. Then as we turned our faces to the moon / Our hands entwined, our hearts in sync, in tune / We felt the fingers of the silken breeze / And made our wishes on the falling leaves / A gust of wind set off a whispered sigh / Among the trees that leaned against the sky. Buy the paper book / Buy the e-book.