Wikipedia says you are to be found
in many famous locations round
the world- Times Square, Dam Square,
Piazza San Marco, and that you are not rare
in George Square, Glasgow. Flying rat
is one of the nicer names they give you. Fat
bold and scabby, smart as any crow is
you are a “proven carrier of psittacosis”.
– they never crticise humans of whom not a few
are proven carriers of human flu –
but because you live in the streets and beg
you are seen like other street dwelllers as dregs
of evolution, candidates for killing.
It’s true I’ve seen you swilling
ketchup from a discarded fish supper
and that you are known to be a slurper
of superannuated curried
rice so vile that even your furry
friend the rat gives it the body swerve.
In spite of human enmity you have the nerve
to greet us cheerfully in public places
awaiting without much patience the traces
of our carelessness with food; or you delight
with sudden arabesques of flight
then perching on them to be fed
kids and other dafties bringing bread.
I can’t see what your critics’ moan is.
From your history, I like your cojones
refusing captivity by pigeon fanciers
you chose rebellion as great escape chancers
restoring the dignity of being free
enjoyed by your rock dove ancestors. Fe-
-ral they call you, like any creature
that successfully refuses to meet their
command to serve, beggars, immigrants
schemies, gypos, plus anyone whose stance
is pro- justice and anti-capitalist.
Leave that beer can, you’ll get pissed,
but come back with your petrol- coloured feathers
and beady eyes. In all weathers
your cussedness is a good deed;
I guess it’s you brought me a seed.