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Brisk neat beaked ovals

twig-thin twinklelegs

quick and nimble as harpsichord toccatas

criss-cross arrow-tracks

blurred by the tide-wash

popping glossy bubbles with

rose-prickle claws

forth and backing minikins

scavenging crunchies on the wild frontier


all together now
open all the flickerflash

foam-white  cloud-grey


flying fast over rollers

many minis single mind

turning all together like a shower in a gust

skimming over wave-humps

swooping through the spraywhirl

alight between roars

to dimple the ripplepop sky



Sandpiper and Reflection


If it saw its companion

abstract as shadow

but feathered with replica tints

it might wonder

who moves and who mimes

and why does it fade where the sand is dry

and where does it go when I fly?

What world does it live in

this image of plumage and shank

that stabs the same prey

that skims the same path

across azure and gold

and breaks into rippling fragments

when the wind gusts


and cold?






Small birds


How quick they are

a page is turned

a body stretches

cracking out a studious posture





flurrying the breeze with millisecond wings.


If life were innocent

they’d settle on my knee

tickle me with prickle feet

mate upon my shoulder

quivering with squeaks

and semi-quavers.


They hop across the compost

two… three yards away

mining a seam of last week’s rice

So deft are they, so dapper

with their quick neat movements

staccato glances

Tiny eyebeads

bright as dew

scan the undersides of leaves

examine tufts for titbits

small birds

chirruping like silver hinges.


They resurrect the sense

of an enchanted world

glimpsed and half-believed

disappearing when we turn to look.