We donít see many species of wild birds out here;
A few carrion crows and rooks,
The odd pied wagtail or kestrel,
Starlings by the dozen, house sparrows by the score (of course);
And pigeons.

Crows are rather graceful birds,
Kestrels are majestic, wagtails cute;
Sparrows and starlings are just there;
But pigeons, what are pigeons?
What do they do?
What value do they have?
What use are they?

They roost on the roof of the dining hall during the hours of darkness,
And during the hours of daylight too:
After breakfast, dinner and, in the summer, tea,
They swoop down onto the grass and peck at the bread people have
Thrown out for them.
Also they feast in the slop bins round the back of the kitchen.

Theyíre mostly ferals, but a few are fantails,
And one or two stray racers can be found amongst them;
Probably these latter were just passing through, and,
Seeing all that bread and swill lying around,
Fell into the lotus-eater trap.

Very few of them are attractive birds;
They donít sing (do pigeons ever?),
Though they do flutter a lot,
And sit, and shit all over the place.
They wobble about rather than bob,
But they donít serve any useful function,
They donít entertain, not really,
They donít parasite,
They donít even scavenge in the proper sense of the word;
Basically, all they do is eat and get fat.

Back To Poetry Index