In his dream
The skyline is quiet. The Oystercatcher
Peeps out from his rock-bed home
And listens to no one.
Here the air is strong. It does not shake or bend
Under the thunder of man.
The cool sun is cupped in endless dales,
Pinched into a pinprick kiss
For every feathered beast to drink.
But when the Oystercatcher wakes he remembers.
The heart of England has been broken
And patched together
With one labyrinthine suture of suburbia.
Men have walked away for months and returned
To see their pageant of nature drained away for profit.
They ask, ham-sandwich in hand,
‘Where do you suppose the Oystercatchers have flown?’
But the Oystercatcher has not left.
He cocoons his chicks with a limp wing
And faces the buffeting bamboo
Of these new concrete leaves.
He watches every stone collapse away,
One at a time,
As they cry out in a reticent tongue
Older than man,
Until they are gone.
The Oystercatcher dreams and presses
Its beak of fire to its plump gut, yet
They are all so cold. He hopes his children dream too,
Breathing the sea like men breathe progress,
Listening out for no gathering storm.
Just nodding for shellfish in prayer
To a mother otherwise forgotten.