On the distant hillside they are
a string of white seed pearls slinking
down to the still mirror of pond.
After a splash-bath they groom
themselves on the bank, twisting their
pipe-cleaner necks into impossible angles.
Every feather is teased as their teeth
comb and pluck out tufts of white fluff
until the grass has a light snow-fall.
when all quills are pure, they plop down
on ample behinds, tuck their heads
neatly beneath their wings and fall asleep.
They are a fleet of freshly painted boats
moored to a patch of mid-morning sun.
One of them always keeps an eye on the world.
At a gust of wind, or a passing car, it honks
and it’s up periscope, all in quick succession
as if a fox rippled through their dreams.