Out of bed before this January dawn
I scattered food on the frost covered lawn.
The stale crusts from week old bread
And yesterday's dumplings, heavy as lead.
Onto the table the last of the log,
Chocolaty rich; no good for the dog.
Pouring fresh water in the concrete bowl
While in the house, stirred not a soul.
A fat ball with seeds, the final touch.
Standing back, I wondered if there was too much.
As the sky lightened to a milky grey
I heard the visitors on their way.
First to arrive were the great tits
Flitting from the buddlehia for their favourite bits.
Next came tits, coal, long tailed and blue
To and from the bushes they flew.
Suddenly these visitors all took fright
For the resident blackbird claimed his birthright.
With shiny black feathers and neat yellow beak,
He came to the table and started to eat
While his beady gold eye scanned the ground
Ensuring no competitors were around.
He didn't see the pert tailed wren
Dart from the herbs and back again.
I stood at the window for a whole hour
And counted the visitors as they devoured
The party food and tasty bites,
Magpies, sparrows and then to my delight
There came a pigeon, grey and plump,
Who landed gracefully on one foot and a stump.
Scaring the others, who had flown,
This war zone bird stood all alone.
For sixty minutes I had stood and numbered
The birds in the garden, while others slumbered.
Sixty minutes of peace and quiet
While birds shared the feast without a riot.
Sixty minutes of inner joy
And inspiration from that tough old boy
With one tired foot and one sore stump,
Hopping, then slapping and finally a jump.