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This poem is taken from PN Review 159, Volume 31 Number 1, September - October 2004.

Three Poems Rodney Pybus

Communication Studies

At home spotted birds like starlings and thrushes,
the crafty mimics, can get you racing into the house
to answer calls from that mobile phone
they're using to ring each other over the roof-tops.

Here at the other end of the world such larky
sophistication comes a little slower, but it comes -
or is it a different flattery that I'm reading in meanings
from my own repertoire? Impossible, even here
among the flower-farms and the vineyards,
to switch off the semiotic bells and whistles:

malachite sunbirds, whose shiny-metal feathers
switch from golden amber to Go in the sun
as they dance for a moment in mid-air,
start to call some very long numbers:
Hello, darling, they'll be saying,

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