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The Birds

Startled by the noise I rush to the window,
And see many birds perched all around
On  nearby trees and mute buildings,
Flaunting their wonderful plumage:
Splashed with yellow or red or orange,
Or black or grey or white or blue;
Their round eyes bulged with wonder,
All of them are twittering in anger,
Crying stridently, with sheer vehemence,
Not bothering about shattering the peace,
Or to be in discord with each other,
They cry together as if in unison,
And gaze in just one direction.

Following their gaze I see on the pavement
Two urchins kicking about a dead bird,
Laughing merrily to see its feathers scatter.

Suddenly like a bolt from the sky,
A large bird swiftly swoops down,
Scaring away the urchins,
It picks up the dead bird and soars away
In the sky to be seen no more.

The sitting birds, stunned for a moment,
Take up again their wailing refrain.

© Portia Burton