A sonnet to a lost tern

Birders are always excited when they see a rare bird, alone and miles off course. But what is the bird thinking? Who knows, but this sonnet, I hope, offers another point of view. And I’m not being critical of birders, I’m one myself!

Sonnet to a lost tern

We men in green, bejewelled, with bins and scope,
Shout What’s that there, behind the reeds, tucked down,
A yankee tern? Too far off course, some hope!
But look, that pale-streaked breast, forked tail, black crown!
Heads down like men possessed we probe, we peer,
Page flip our guides to spot its beak, striped eye,
Confirm the twitch, then tweet ‘First of the year!’
What next then, Curlew Sand, Great White, Sea Pie?
We click shut our scopes in the failing light
And trek on to fresh finds, triumphant, blest.
Our stray forgot, dead beat, from polar flight,
Squats sullen, dazed, dull eyed, with panting breast.
Uncaring birders, think as you head for home
Your tern’s bewildered, fearful, and all alone.

About Terence Sackett

I am a writer and designer. I live in Nether Stowey, which is on the borders of the Quantock hills. I am a committee member of the Friends of Coleridge, and wrote and designed the booklet/visitor guide for the National Trust’s Coleridge Cottage. I look after the website for the Friends (www.friendsofcoleridge.com). My novel about Siamese twins titled ‘Riven is now on Kindle. It can be read with a free downloaded Kindle app for an iPad, smartphone, tablet, or computer. The book is available from Amazon. What’s it about? Brief blurb below: It is the story of the Victorian painter Thomas Tait Genoa and his desperate flight through the West Country to save his conjoined twin daughters from the surgeon’s knife. This was before the era of anaesthetics. A 5-start bAmazon review: 'A masterpiece, truly deserving of the five star rating I have given it. The very human experience described so eloquently could not fail to tug at the heart of any parent who has ever gazed on a poorly child in the dark hours of the night and anguished over what to do for the best. This novel might be set in a very particular time and space but the heartfelt emotions of the protagonists are timeless, I have no hesitation in recommending this wonderful work to anyone who has a heart.
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