Glass cage

A bird in my conservatory –
a small bright panic among coffee cups
and Sunday Times. I propped the doors
and edged the windows wide
pleaded with a black unblinking eye
to cease this suicidal charging at the glass

I was calm. I was priest confronting mugger,
nurse with hypodermic and a child,
negotiator crouched at a jumper’s ledge.
And still the bird took off and hurled
at the hard clear glass

I saw, I heard – imagined – matchstick neck,
the snap, a dusty silhouette imprinted on the plate
of hard unyielding glass

And again it thrummed – a fluff and feather blur
of wing-beat at full stretch
for the hard transparent glass

Until the flick – the micro-second jink
for beckoning sky

Ian Chamberlain

This poem was shortlisted for The Poems Please Me Prize 2015