Poetry by D.W. Walker

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Cat Run

The installers' web site contains no warning
To potential feline viewers
That they might see the image
Of a now deceased cat.

Instead, it shows a room-sized netting cage
With a metal frame at the ends,
A solitary tree in the middle,
Graced by a tortoiseshell cat on a failed escape bid,
Captioned "Keeping birds off fruit trees and away from hungry eyes".

But does it work?

A currawong, black and menacing,
Perches, frustrated, on the end frame,
Glaring, beak in the air,
T-rex may be extinct,
But this is a proud descendant.

A wattle bird, grey, stripy,
Zings through overhanging branches,
Looking for a way in.
Crimson rosellas inspect, then move on.
Magpie larks and crested pigeons are not interested.

Suddenly the cage is full,
A milling screeching cloud of tiny green birds,
White rings around their eyes,
Flying laps from end to end under the netting roof,
Breaking off momentarily to nip at grapes and figs,
While one perches at the end,
Showing another how to get in through a tiny gap
Where the net sags between attachment points.

Weeks of manic chirping, wheeling, diving, perching,
Oblivious to feline predation that culls the unwary.
Then they leave, as suddenly as they came,
To continue their migration.
Only three birds left, scudding back and forth,
Looking for a way out.
Then one, and then nothing,
As they join the others on their journey.
Silence again, and stillness.

The final score:
Ethelred (black and white) 2, Daphne (tortoiseshell) 1,
Silvereyes nil, except for pecked fruit,
Allowing the wasps, kept out only by the skins,
At last, able to sup.

Note: Daphne died of cancer (not of a bird strike) on 23rd January, aged 13. She is still present on the internet at http://www.customcatenclosures.com/ .

Copyright D.W. Walker, 2015

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