Sacred Magpie


Imagine the traffic skirting your tree
hunter of the underground
your liquid voice – it brings up the sun while you carry shadows on you back – the past’s setting only knows noir
there was only ever right or wrong –
notes so perfect and flute clean
to make the crisp morning tremble
all you worshippers surrender themselves
imagining their own pied skins under the furs
setting candles at your alter and carving your totem into their footprints
hushing the children to listen
listen to the song of the surviving bird.
Planes change course to avoid disturbing your nestlings;
fledglings are guarded by boys who have learnt to cup their hands so gently
that they are known as magpie monks
and are given special privileges
like staying up with the elders to listen
for the September cracking of the blue eggs.
all this for the bare tremulous note.
The true song.
The bird law.