My grandfather was a bird.

Underneath his white hair
he wore crayon-coloured feathers.

They were of broiling gold
and of burning red
and of drowning blue.

One was green the colour of a single blade of grass.

When he walked ahead of me
I could see from his stride how he flew
in the branches of trees.

When his hand curled in my hair
I could feel him perching around me.

When he worked on the end of a shovel
I found how his arms spread wide in a turn.

And when he stood over a bed full of flowers
I saw that his eyes gathered what shone
on the ground for his nest.

When he was gone I remember him sitting in a tree
in a garden which he had planted.

And all the cries of morning were around him.


From The Art of Walking Upright (Steele Roberts Ltd, 1999)
© 2006 by Glenn Colquhoun.
Posted by kind permission of the poet.


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