This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. If you’d like to help, please share this poem to encourage others to take joy in nature, and if you have the time and means to donate, you can do so here. Let’s help keep our wildlife wild!
[Apologies for how these poems are formatted. I do write them in stanzas, but WordPress rarely decides to keep them, no matter how much I argue with it.]
Shallow water waders,
elegant bills swiping beneath the surface
of insects and crustaceans dwell.
En masse, young fluff balls move in
on eager, clumsy feet,
shyly copying the unique motions
of chessboard-coloured adults.
Undisturbed this time,
unlike the morning’s encounter
with a web-footed trespasser,
to approach the wobbly learners —
a charge (or two) from furious parents
soon inspired adequate distancing.
Centuries ago, daring fowls
were not the only ruffians these birds
had to handle.
Facing drained wetlands,
marshes converted into farmland,
eggs stolen for breakfast,
feathers used to adorn ladies’ hats
and fashion fishing flies,
they lost everything
for a hundred years.
Then came the sirens, shrieking warnings
of rigid spitting dragons.
Calling for blackouts, hastily built shelters,
and land to be strategically flooded.
A ward against opposition, forgotten
after turmoil ceased.
Yet these new wetlands were not dismissed
Drawn by their richness, avocets tiptoed back,
rediscovering the touch of home.