Its eyes are orange stones,
staring nowhere and everywhere,
hiding a mystery,
a mind.

Every feather that lines its back,
creates its wings, defines its tail
is black: an ancient
and sacred darkness.

Gripping the rim of the birdbath
it stretches its Nick Cave neck
and caws the old long notes
that mark the morning.

Wanting water, willy-wagtails
in prim little aprons flit,
flutter, chitter,
fly at it.

Balanced, silent, glaring,
daggering its beak at them
only when necessary, it continues
to take its drink.

(First published in Westerly)