Congregation at a Twitcher’s Sunset
“They beat out rhythmic drum solos on hollow trees.
They watch me, watching them.
They watch me as spies would,
always out of reach.
“Some bring gifts.
Gift-giving is their natural repertoire
placing them where they can’t be missed.
By my bed, a small wooden box,
each compartment holding treasure:
a gold bead, a pearl earring,
a quartz crystal, a red Lego brick.”
He yearns for his home during an illness
long and drawn out.
He finds he understand the origins of purposeful sounds,
understands the effects locks have,
that a culture of tool-making is important,
that complicated societies are the real spur
for making uninformed decisions.
All too late, he discovers
an uncanny ability to distinguish expressions,
the alphabet, paintings by Monet and Picasso.
Hard-wiring underlies memory and decision-making;
his own is flawed, fraying, fragile.
They watch him as spies would,
already decked out in their mourning dress.
Definition: ‘Twitcher’ – [BRITISH, informal] – a birdwatcher whose main aim is to collect sightings of rare birds.