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This poem is taken from PN Review 170, Volume 32 Number 6, July - August 2006.

Birdwatching Poem R.F. Langley

for Robert Stone

In the twigs, contorta, of two trees
which the council has planted by the new
apartment block - eight waxwing, bibbed, masked and
crested. At first they were conclusive black
up there in silhouette, then they flourished
down in splendid grey and cinnamon, dashed
out with writs of zinc and red. The tails tipped
in gold. A hundred years ago, Mützel
engraved them, posed in conifers and birch.
His foreground was the usual broken
branch. He sheathed this one in moss to show a
swampy place in Fenno-Scandia. Might
be witch-hair lichen. They came in Volume
Three, between the shrikes and thrushes. They don't
care where they come. Nor who is watching them.

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