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Garden Visitors

Garden Visitors

A band of pigeons

call the shots and

steal worms from robins

until the mischief of the

magpies sweeps them all away.

With shoulders hunched,

high in the bare beech branches,

the rooks hold parliament

and scold the clatter of the

jackdaws and the jays below.

And golden finches

try their charms to feed their chicks -

troubled, they quickly leave

when falcons cast their hungry

eyes upon the feasts beneath.

Then linnets bury parcels

deep within the border shrubs,

as sparrows quarrel over

asylum with the cuckoos -

while murdering crows pass by.

This poem, a collection of tankas, was inspired by these paintings:

Roundhay Park: Garden Birds: The Table, David Lyon,

Tree Sparrows, Robert E Fuller,

British Crows, Jane Tomlinson,

and this list of collective nouns for birds:

Lester, P., (2023), “Collective nouns for birds: Why we call it a murder of crows, a murmuration of starlings and a conspiracy of ravens”, Country Life,




HWS Competition, Jan 2024

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