The red squirrels take off
away from you across the grass,
towards the trees, whose
trunks they will climb—always
in close, roundhouse runs.

The ducks stop grazing
and scatter at your approach,
becomng airborne, splashing
down where the pond’s
widest. But if you cause

disturbances, you settle
at the same time everything back
in what you consider its
natural element. And receive
the bonus of close-ups:

a furry face, a frittered acorn,
a loose feather gone
dithering airily onto another
level. There, the swan
sails in apparent serenity

past her inelegant offspring,
to hiss in your face, to raise
a bone-breaker wing. It’s
a game, of course, and if the red
squirrels are pushed out

by your introduction of
the greys, if the mallards fail
to spot poisons you’ve set
for rats, if the swans asphyxiate
on synthetics or bottle-tops,

you can revert to the beginning.
So the red squirrels take
off away from you across
the grass—towards the trees,
whose trunks they will climb.