The moon of magpies quarrelling
shimmers in the pale sky of early morning
like a court reporter's screen. It records
the magpies' proceedings - litigious birds
with ermine draped across their glossy shoulders,
their bellies drooped in prosperous curves.
They introduce their offspring to the court's
attention in harsh, good-natured voices.
They teach their fledglings legalese, the value
of bright shiny objects and their importance
in the scheme of branches.
They do not mean to be
so handsome, so much bigger than the other
birds, or to have such clever eyes. It's just
the way things are, they tell
judiciously brightening skies.
~ ~ Alice Major
From: Tales for an Urban Sky (Broken Jaw Press, 2001).