Caw, caw—I hear you,
Clawing through the frosty sky,
pale blue above this eastern suburb.
Rooks and crows mark the migrations
and the cold first tinkerings
of their welcomed Winter.
The rivers here will not freeze
nor will we grow too cold in our homes,
cocooned in central heating, battened in duvets:
But the gospel oak is riven and the birds
chant requiems over the city in which
we sought to shut out fear.
They fly eastwards to Essex,
old witch country, commutered now,
but still too dark at night.
On the wing over Epping, circling
the storied Parliament of Birds,
they lobby coldly, exchanging iniquities.
If you walk too near there in session
Black Rod, white lie, magpie appears
to test you on your knowledge or your fears:
“Shoo, shoo, I’m not scared of you” you say,
or with more care than courage
“Hello, Sir, where’s Madam?”
About you, there are no passwords,