Corn’s flowers I have not seen for years
include the scarlet pimpernel
whose light red petals firmly shut
before rain. It can always tell.

But what has brought it, sprawling live,
amongst the dry stones of my drive?

My endless country trips to see
my horse? Now country comes to me.

Our streets become a fragile ark
as birds flee from torn hedges, spray,

but creeping tarmac, new-sealed roofs,
closed earth and nests, drive them away.

The sparrows came, in frost and sun,
shrieked, fought inside my neighbours’ tree.

The young block-pavers cut it down,
no deafening, tattered birds to see.

Yet suddenly, above our roof,
rise nine heads glistening, as if wet,

the ragged shout, as known as day.
‘You thought we’d gone? Oh no. Not yet.’      

Alison Brackenbury
If you have any comments on this poem,
Alison Brackenbury would be pleased to hear from you.