Thanking Mr Walcott by Maggie Harris

The man I live with is full with the love of birds
Although he no longer considers me one.
I have advised him to read Jean Rhys
The Wide Sargasso Sea

And re-acquaint himself with Mr Rochester
Who almost lost himself in the love
Of a Caribbean woman. We are a breed apart
And sometimes people can’t take too much of us

Like curry. It’s something seeing a young bird
Trilling in the wild, quite another to bring it inside
Give it a home in the front room. It’s another thing
To turn your room into a hide, watch the blue tits

And magpies vie for the titbits outside
And pin them down with your binoculars
And the desire to be able to fly. The thing
About flying is: you need wings

And to grow them you need to become
Another creature entirely. That’s when the whole
Business gets crazy.

At least we have Mr Walcott who has compared us
To swifts, we sleep on the wing
Exist on this astral plane: it’s called being a migrant.

Maggie Harris