What came first, the bird, or the egg?
Well, I spotted the dead pigeon on Monday night
As I was walking down the embankment
Trying not to breathe too many fumes
Still shivering from an over-chilled office
And shocked at the sight of mangled grey feathers,
A broken neck and damaged wings
I wondered if it had been hit by a vehicle
Or disorientated, had flown beak-first
Into a mirrored tower block
Before plummeting to the pavement below.
I had no answers. Nor did anyone seem
Too interested in the fate
Of an earthbound, flying sky-rat.
I walked home, pondering
The funeral rites of a feathered pest.
The next day, passing the other way
I saw it was still there.
Must have been missed by the road sweepers
Or deliberately ignored as someone else’s problem.
That evening, Tuesday after work
I felt sure someone would have mentioned it
And had the bird disposed of
Nudged off the pavement into the gutter
At the side of the road
Still a crumpled heap. Grey feathers dirty
From the road dust and oil residue.
I walked on.
By Wednesday evening, the bird was gone.
This morning, I took a different route to work
Staying on the bus to the museum
Then walking the few blocks North to the river.
As I passed under a bridge, I saw an egg
Shell cracked, yolk scattered on the ground
Dirty down feathers floating
While trains rattled above, shaking the shadows
A lone pigeon fluttered overhead
As if mourning their loss.
I love to watch the lights flash by
Travelling from town to town
Throughout the inky, velvet night
They lift me when I’m down.
And following their smoky chains
As far as the eye can see
I am quite grateful for their pains
To light the way for me.
The velvet darkness of a tunnel,
Moist, steamy, warm.
Enveloping me within it’s sheath;
A scabbard to my sword.
Swiftly slipping through softness
And out into harsh, blinding
Daylight on the other side.
The unwilling coexistence of passengers.
Introduced with a nod, the proposal made
By the raising of an eyebrow;
The automatic courtesy shrug
Finalizing a contract of mutual misery
For several hundred miles to come.
A contract to ignore the insupportable,
With the unwritten clauses
Detailing petty irritations, annoying personal habits
And unwelcome elbows
Insinuating their way into the afternoon
As the fields and houses flash by.
A blanket of humanity, settled, staid.
Sliced-through by the rattling train
Travelling at breakneck speed.
I take a breath, to clear my head
My stomach sings a hungry tune
My eyes are tired, my legs like lead
Freezing here beneath the moon.
I wish I could awake my mind
Some beauty I should love to find,
But closed-up shops
And ticking clocks
Are all the night will offer me.
When John went to Euston with Rita
(As from her train, he’d sworn to meet her)
He found it quite hard to tell from the card
Which platform from which he should greet her.
So John asked a guard or a porter
How he could find out where he ought-a
Be meeting his pal, as it wasn’t long now
And her temper was fast growing shorter.
To John’s great dismay though, this tactic
Backfired almost like elastic
He was sent to the end far away from his friend,
And missed her, which made her quite irate really.
Descending t’ward the depths of what
In London passes for transport,
Oft do I ignore the thrust
Of passengers, who, in their lust
To reach their desks and start each day
Do trample others ‘midst the fray.
Once upon a youthful day
I, purposeful, would elbow through
But lately I step out the way
To give more room to those who do.
And easing, thus, their passage by
This courtesy, I rarely spy
A shifting glance, infrequent too, of
Gratitude for what I do.