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Bird on the Fence

Andy Jenkins


Watching my

son in

Mario World

One of my fathers
carried his flints
in an animal skin.


Their steady


Their constant


Sometimes at night
he struck two together
to throw sparks
onto dry kindling.


Sometimes he use d
a scalloped edge
to prise the hide

from a deer's carcass.


Sometimes he cast
them in the grey dirt
to show him the way.


He carried them always
and left footprints
frozen in the rock
for me to ponder
the who and the why.


Though there is no secret -
only a need

   to make sense of the world -

   for which he had
his flints in a bag
while I have
a notebook and the stub
of a pencil.

His headphones cancel
the sound of the wind,
the intake of breath,
the musical tattoo
of the beating heart.

While Mario skips on,
slaying dragons,
gathering jewels,
clicking up the points
slave to the digital.

Outside, unnoticed,
the analogue trees
bend to an analogue sun.

A flick of colour
draws eye and spirit
from ponderous gloom,
lightening the heart.

Nervous little thing -
alert to the cruciform shadow
of the hawk
or sinuous twitch
of a furred tail.

A flash of wing,
a chaotic fluttering of feathers
from fence to pergola
high and safe
cloaked by pink clematis
a chafer grub writhing in its beak
will make a fine breakfast

A twitch
and it is gone,
like it has never been -
a magician's trick
that leaves behind
an essence of
of how good it is
to be alive.

I sleep with a gap between the curtains,
wide as the span of my hand,
wide as the span of the moon in the sky.

When the moon slides by,
its light falls on my eyes,
draws me from sleep,
calling to remind me
of the vastness
of the universe,
and the greatness

Andy Jenkins was born in Formby, Merseyside, youngest son of a customs officer and a fairground boxer, an ex-naval engineer, Andy Jenkins has travelled extensively on all five continents. He lives in Scotland with his wife and two children. He currently works as a freelance editor and technical author for the oil and gas industry.


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