Frost Birds

This poem was written at HMP Highpoint South in the deep winter of January 2016. Everything stood still and silent in early morning except for the scavenging birds feeding on food thrown out of the window vents of the wing opposite. Actually, one of my favourites because I can still remember the feeling of satisfaction gained from watching that frozen wasteland in such an apparent peace before the day started.

Frost Birds

Cold clear skies, carpet crystal thick

Frost on surface; sun-drenched roof

Concrete, fence and red-brown brick

Feathered friends remain aloof

Breakfast! Food through vents ejected

Swooping groundwards, the fight for life

Leaving little nourishment rejected

Seldom sign of airborne strife


Blackbirds, pigeons, starlings, crows

Light white sun on ice

Even as the brightness grows

Devouring last night’s grains of rice

Seabirds join the flying circus

Blown in from stormy, North Sea shore

Circling above with sense of purpose

Screeching seagulls cry for more


Gathering round the heat extracted

From buildings housing men of guilt

Pigeon preening, proud enacted

Crows are crowding on barracks built

To shame those inside whose lives are blighted

Who crave life’s simple sights and smells

Envy of fair freedom, flighted

Through windows barred of seedy cells


O, for the wings of a wondrous dove

That we might different landscapes see

To view the world from skies above

As birds fly fleeting, feeling free

To feed upon the food that fell

To make our nests from what we find

To hear the sounds, their tale to tell

To leave these prison walls behind