Saturday, June 13, 2015

In Praise of The Great Skua (Death of a Tourist)

I love bonxies.
They killed a tourist once
On Noss, or Bressay
Heart failure, it was said
Old age. It would have happened anyway.
Adventurous, alone
He stumbled through a nesting site
And down they came
Sirenless Stukas, grimly silent.

Unarmed, unlike the  
Stinking, spewing Fulmar:
A Maali leaves its reek.
If a Great Skua hits you, birdfolk say,
It’s a mistake. No beak
Has penetrated brain.
Just wave a stick or shirt
Retreat, the way you came
Signalling submission.

Pirates of the air
They’ll steal from, kill, maim
Any birds
Even the pin-up puffins
Drowned first, then eaten.
Brutal, brown, hefty,
Grim coastal reaper 
I’ve felt your slipstream
The whirr of feathers
Pass my face

As that trespasser
Fell, clutching  his chest
Did he catch your swooping eye
(Ruthless, implacable)
His vacation dream 
Of wilderness
Final and absolute?

It’s what they do
It’s what they are
Stern and menacing
Riders of the storm
Love them or hate them
(And I love them)
You have been warned

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