Marilyn Peck: ‘Listen to Leos’ and ‘Magpie Bathing’

Listen to Leos

Leo in Egypt flooded the valley of the Nile
bringing fertile harvests nourished by sun
and rain; and the grain sprouted, flourished.
The merchants smiled selling their wares.
Leo as in lion symbolised the sun and at least
one goddess: Ishtar, Astarte, and Cybele.
Leos drove lions or rode them as they wished.
Remember Sphinx as woman, fixed into the
future and the past. She looks both ways
as a symbol of time like Janus/Jana;
the Lions of Yesterday and Today.
It pays to listen to Leos with a lot to say.

Marilyn Peck


Magpie Bathing

A juvenile magpie finishes bathing.
Checks he is alone; fluffs every feather, drying.
The song he’s learning shows he’s young,
His head beneath his wing, beak prying,

poking, pulling feathers into line. Wind-chimes
clatter; he pauses, practising his music’s lying
patter of flute-like scales, perched on the pool-deck
railing. In between his water antics, he’s trying
to amplify certain notes in qualified time
close outside a see-through insect-screened
door, defying danger. He struts so trustingly
on green grass, clover and fallen leaves as he preens,
dying to be fully-grown, sample-tasting his
smorgasbord of life around him. Browsing the lawn,
attempting an alliance with a peewee and narrowly
escaping honey bees in clover flowers, he returns

to his bath, flying to hop on top of a spa-pool cover.
Strutting bravely, tentatively, across blue water-bed
plastic surface of the drying pool cover, sun-warmed,
he bounces twice for water to reform a watershed,
a reflective, shallow but chlorinated well. Bird dips,
sways, turns his tail, possibly squats, amplifying
departure of bird lice; dips beak, drinks his fill, hops
the railing still fluting carols; notes liquefying.
He fluffs up large as his own towel. Twice now
this week, the magpie comes, as if desiring to have
my home as his resort, and I expect some aspect
of this novel behaviour repeated until savouring
his majority when he wins the favours of some
female magpie. I will possibly mope until I see him
mate. I hope to see his offspring as my spa continues
recuperating the couple out of the nest for regeneration.

Marilyn Peck


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