THE NEST BOX



This poem is inspired by the photograph of a blue tit taken by my brother Chris Knight. His bird and squirrel photos take me straight back to the garden of our old family home where our parents spent over 50 years nurturing and enjoying the garden before we watched it grow wild as illness reduced their mobility. In his final years we would sit for hours with Dad in the glass walled garden room, open to the outside on a warm day, watching the birds together.


THE NEST BOX

Sawdust sprinkled the scratchy grass like 

stale breadcrumbs scattered on the bird table.

I skipped around him as he nailed and hinged,

the bird box fixed to red brick where blue tits

reared teeming broods of chicks, fledglings safe 

from prowling cats hunting nests in beech hedges. 


Hidden behind slanted greenhouse glass, 

the nest box outlived him, hanging forgotten 

as honey pine mossed to green, twig ringlet

tendrils sprouting from rain blackened cracks.

Hungry tits still fly, feathers flash blue as a

midsummer sky, bellies bright as buttercups.


Stripping the garden; a lifetime of debris buried

beneath leaf mould, tangled in wired bramble, 

nature’s decay rotting fencing into cobwebbed lace 

veiling earth licked crocks of cinnamon pot.

I think of him hanging nuts on failing legs, whiling 

hours watching sapphire wings flit in the garden. 



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved. 

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