Six [i] Pied Wagtails, fluttering along the grass
Like a [ii]clutch of Irish Catholics
Readying to go to Mass.
Five Pied Wagtails, ‘[iii]Big Dippering’ down the fields
Flapping round the dappled cows and
By the horses heels.
Four Pied Wagtails, looking for a worm
As the bouncing of their beaks
Would make a boxer squirm.
Three Pied Wagtails, a whizzing and a whooping
As proud as smiling [iv]Barry
That would not bend to stooping.
Two Pied Wagtails, snatching around the beast
As their mid-day, mid-air picnic
Becomes their wedding feast.
One Pied Wagtail, pecking furiously at the ground
Like an old and desperate spinster
Sifting the lost and found.
No Pied Wagtails, fluttering along grass
Who died as dumb as donkeys
And were as wise as a horse’s ass.
© 2016 Victor Robert Farrell
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but only My Father. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and took them all away. So also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matt 24:36-44 NSB)
My current daily prayer walk along the Trent & Mersey Canal takes me past a field of Ponies and horses, and occasional dumb donkey, where the last few warmer days of March have raised up the Midges from the steaming Ponies poop that lay pat-a-cake on the ground, to pester the poor beasts to death. Indeed, one of the Pony’s is so plagued by these little flies that he has to wear a mask over his face to protect his eyes. He looks like a giant fly! The pony in the Iron Mask. Anyhoo, I took note that there was also some kind of symbiotic relationship going on between the poor pestered pony and a gang of Pied Wagtails, in that these birds were fluttering around the slowly moving, and tail twitching beast like tenderly caring flower-fairies. Of course, they had no care whatsoever, except for lunch, and that is what they are doing, they were feasting on the flies, munching on the midges, that were in turn sucking on the warm damp corners the poor wee pony’s eyes
I stood and watched the Pied Wag Tails follow the beast around, then fly like a sine-wave, low across the ground, to another warm bodied beast walking slowly across the field. The gang of six then slowly separated until all were gone. It got me thinking how that maybe we humans are the like the Pied Wagtails, feasting on flies before disappearing into nothingness, vanishing away, even destroyed through lack of knowledge.
PERFORMANCE TIPS |
Each Stanza begins with four syllables, the first syllable is emphasized as you would in a nursery rhyme teaching a toddler to count.
[i] ‘The RSPCA describes the bird as ‘A delightful small, long-tailed and rather sprightly black and white bird. When not standing and frantically wagging its tail up and down it can be seen dashing about over lawns or car parks in search of food. It frequently calls when in its undulating flight and often gathers at dusk to form large roosts in city centers.’
PIED – having two or more colors, usually black and white.
[ii] Clutch – (1.) The complete set of eggs produced or incubated at one time. (2.) A brood of chickens. (3.) A group; a bunch.
I have seen Irish Catholics both in Galway and in Boston roosting it outside the entrance to St Josephs. (It’s always St Jospehs) They are inevitably dressed like Gypsy doormen and all smoking a fag before reluctantly screwing it into the ground with the bottom of their leather shoes and ganging it quietly into the back pews of the church, like fat heals being pushed into tight shoes.
[iii] Pied Wagtails have a low and undulating flight as if they are riding on a small but incredibly an invisible Big Dipper.
[iv] Barry Soetorro of course, the most arrogant and racist man to ever occupy the Whitehouse.