Robins in Chelsea Physic Garden, May 2015, by Rosalind Francis

Quick as lightning on long thin pink legs
over hills of earth (charcoal-coloured,
loam-rich freshly dug).

Quick stab, beak to ground
millipede in beak
run along….stab….swallow.
Run, dip and stab, along hillocks of earth.

Needle-sharp beak
robin quickly darts
from holly tree to gate to moist soil.

Bright beady eye (as bright as a button)

Little brown bird with an orange-splashed breast.
Tail feathers raised up-down
hops from tree stump to holly tree
to feed hungry fledglings cheeping.

Tail up, run along, run along
quick flick of wings …a whir
suddenly invisible….
your dart-thrown flight swift and sure.

Robins twitter in nearby trees
undulating flight; lift up and alight
hide in the holly tree.

Dip and dive on slender legs
onto rich black soil
moistened by falling rain.

Robin rapidly moves
here ….now there,
perches on flower pots
hops onto the soil to collect insects.


Late afternoon, light darkens.
Robin fledgling with its(not-yet-red) breast
speckled brown, sits on the ground,
feathers puffed up… rapid heartbeat.

Reassuring twitter from mother bird
and then she skims the ground
alights on the bench.

Two robins, beaks press
millipedes pass from mum to chick.

Copyright the author and first published by Friends of Rowntree Park 2015.


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