On the First Day of March, the Harbour Sent to Me…

On the First Day of March, the Harbour sent to me…

1 March, 2023

As I walked by the harbour on St David’s Day,
Among the ubiquitous black-headed gulls,
I noticed some more unusual rarities.
I looked through my binoculars,
and saw:

Five tufted ducks,
With bright golden eyes,
Diving soundlessly, then
Swimming underwater
For ten or fifteen seconds
Before bobbing up again
Without a splash.
Two females, three males,
One destined to be left,

Four redshanks,
Paddling purposefully
In the shallows.
Long red legs
And a long red beak,
Half-dipped in the water
Scanning from side to side
As they wade on their way.

Three cormorants,
Wings outstretched
To dry in the sun?
Or just to show off?
Perched proudly on posts,
Standing erect,
Beaks held high,
Like old men with pipes.

Two black-backed gulls,
Sitting smugly
On the breakwater,
Resplendent in black,
Plump and aloof,
Looking down on
Their numerous
grey-winged cousins.

One Brent goose
With a fine white collar,
Floating on the water,
All alone.
Where’s the flock?
Has it been left behind
In the migration north
To the breeding grounds?

I walked home feeling thankful
For the variety of God’s creation
For the gifts: five, four, three, two, one
That the harbour sent to me
On St David’s Day.

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