The pigeons are distracted,
fluttering and strutting
in stately courtship.
Their short necks
were never so long.

Their grey costumes
flashed green and purple.
It's the time of year,
the warm weather.
They're cooing

together, loved-up
in the middle of our road.
I slow down,
give them time to realise
they're about to be flattened.

In Liverpool last week,
I kicked one,
on Renshaw Street...
...by accident!
It hadn't got out of the way.

It was solid,
like an old leather football.
it flapped heavily away,
to a new assignation.

The next day, out with the dog,
in Stanley Park,
I saw a pigeon laid to rest,
in a kerfuffle
of feathers.

Proud heraldic bird -
beak to the left,
its feet like spurs,
and in its chest
a razored hole.

What sharpened
beak or claw,
in a moment of inattention,
had come and stolen
its poor heart away?

By Peter Berry