The new birds glitter
crusted with gold and silver beads
sprayed over wings and breast
and fight for fat-filled shells and wrest
pickings from thrush and finch
and claim the battleground
inch by cantankerous inch.
The first years strut in rosy leggings,
bead patterns soften as they grow
to a full starling finish, sheeny purple
and green like oil on water; unimaginable
that these will ever get tired or old,
take on the full, dull black
of priestliness, or widowhood.
Ann Pilling, May 2013. Prizewinner in Torbay Poetry Competition 2015.