Too hot for England, even in July.
I sit, in shade, on a municipal bench
among seething shoppers,
near a deaf woman and her child;
eat a sandwich in bright, loud air
punctuated by a bald busker
with a good voice
who makes mistakes on
his green guitar.
Behind me, starlings argue
on the raised flower-bed
then sense my food,
flutter to my feet -
all young and immature,
Bold and quick, they quarrel, crowd,
as I crumble some bread crust,
scatter it on the paving.
At first, they pause,
then dart to feed,
retreating, having noticed
what I hadn't - that I'd dropped
some crumbs onto my shoe.
The largest bird approaches,
then eats from my right foot,
darts back and comes again, again,
oblivious to my involuntary smile.
Bold myself now,
eager for their touch,
I crush some bread into my hand,
and bend, stay still and wait until
the birds edge forward cautiously
and, one-by-one, take granary crumbs
from my open, grateful palm.
Four times I fill my hand and bend
and then the woman next to me
stands up, signs quickly to her daughter,
glances at me, disapproving,
gathers up the child and leaves.
The birds have gone, disturbed by signals,
but have left me stirred by wonder,
revelling in this touch of the wild,
in this crowded city, in this heat,
and left me feeling like
a diving caver,
finding an air-pocket
in a flooded mine.
Trevor Hewett is an Englishman who lives and
writes in his native Cornwall. Published widely in the UK and internationally,
he has a short collection of work - 'The Patchwork Woman' - available
from Mockfrog Design Press, Australia.