pigeon philosopher

he got an old cable drum from Telecom
looked like nothing at all
looked like
a massive cotton-reel

narrow centre
flared wide ends

he decided to section up some spare pine-board
cut to size and tacked around the outside of the thing
to board it up

when he made three entry holes
and sat it on a pole in the chook-yard
each pair of nesting birds
had a home

it was the first of many homes
the first of many birds
so many pairs in grey and white

in shining purple necks

in puffed out chests

a man can take pleasure from his birds
when they’re housed well
and comfortable


every day brings a task
in the chook-yard

be it inventing a clever feeder
or laying down empty pellet bags
beneath the perches
to make periodical cleaning of the muck
a straight-forward thing

every day there’s something

until he stops
halfway through a task
to watch the birds

he sees it all

the strut of coo-ing males
the parental beauty of shared rearing

sparrows and starlings
sneaking into the hen house
to steal golden-yellow wheat

caw-caw-ing hens scratching
at a fresh throw of vegetable scraps
of grass cuttings

of the last lettuce
from the garden

he just stops halfway through a task
to watch


he said to me
if we could be a little more like his birds
we’d be ok

I laughed

and what’s wrong
he said
with pigeons

they’re alright

they mate for life
you don’t see adultery in pigeons

they raise their young
in pairs

so proud while they’re feeding
and preening them

the mother gets

a look

I think they’re beautiful


he worries about the eggs
almost paternally
doesn’t like it
when they get rejected

says it’s right
because the egg must have been bad
but it’s better when they rear a pair
not singles

he laughed to tell me
there were lesbians in the flock
a pair of females raising young

watched them close
wasn’t convinced they could be natural

but it made him smile
a sly half-embarrassed smile
and I enjoyed that


last night after dark
he went to the roost so quietly
I hardly heard him go
and I don’t think the birds even fluttered
when he arrived

there was just a quiet coo

he told me he had to cull
or he’d be floating on the feathers

there’s no need to get

he loves his birds
but that’s all they are
though they can help a man sometimes
in his thinking

through the day
in the garden
when he just watches them

they’re nothing very special
just his pigeons

© Frank Prem, 2010

3 thoughts on “pigeon philosopher

  1. Something about them invites philosophy. Fictional characters otherwise unsophisticated have waxed philosophical about life as they see it through the bird’s eye. Nice piece, Sir.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Purple – Daily Prompt | Ladyleemanila

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