The Fastidiousness of Birds

                                                                in Kenmore

on a white picket fence

the round robin with such delicate feet

watched me come closer

turned its head

this way and that

then flew off

to sing his song

somewhere else

                                                                        in Antequera

there is a megalithic dolmen

leading down into the dark earth

– closed on mondays –

so the rainy monday i went

no-one was there

and when i went down the tunnel

under the big dolmen rock

the iron gates were shut




in spite of  my angry shaking of  the bars

* * *

when i gave up

turned to go back

i saw

as if waiting for me

at the end of the tunnel

outlined against the light

standing between me and the bright outside world

a big



* * *

i stopped

not afraid exactly

no not afraid

though i  did think of Cerberus

at  the gates of Hades

to prevent the dead from leaving

but Cerberus had 3 heads

* * *

he  lifted his big head

this big black dog

looked at me


loped off


as if to say

‘no this is not the one’

he  had only 3 legs

the front left leg missing

* * *

before i could move

before i could breathe out my pentup breath

before i could take a further step

the dog was replaced

by a hoopoe

a bird  i had always thought of

as purely mythical

a bird i knew from books

pinkish brown

black and white wing stripes

downward curving beak

something to do with the underworld

this was the first one i had seen

really seen

when it saw me

it snapped  out its ragged crest like a fan

and took off

flew off with a curious looping flight

like a butterfly

* * *

next day I returned

took this picture.


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