I watched a mother bird today
Instruct her babe in flight,
Showing it how to balance and sway
Until the breeze was right.

Her chick obviously knew it all
(Its branch was safe and sturdy).
Mother uttered an encouraging call
But Ethelred was not ready.

He practiced his stance, stretched his wings,
Withdrew his flight intention,
Feigned an interest in various things,
And prayed for intervention.

Exasperated, Mum flew away,
As far as a different tree,
Watching her baby flap and sway,
Called to him to “Come to me.”

A busy shopper passing by
Made the infant jump in fright,
A flap of wings, a mighty leap,
And – lo! – the miracle of flight.
By Frances McKay


Copyright © – Frances Mackay 2002