Yellow Wagtails


All the warm, wet April
they worship at the feet
of oblivious, complaining sheep.

At times they join their voices
in modest but sweet praise of their great providers
or squabble to be the ones to pick blood-swollen ticks
from off the muddied fleeces.

Then the day in a parched May
when they watch them led to a higher pasture
and for 24 hours, no more,
they are without book or compass.

Some make songs remembering
the days of rain and plenty. Others sing
to ensure their return, and all fear
for where the next meal is coming from.

The first have already flitted
when the gates open to the Friesians.
The day draws one deep breath,
then they are passing here and there,

faithless and believers flocking
to their hoofprints, or congregating at every
neat, round, fly-thronged blessing.