Robin in York
The Minster bell has just tolled twelve
As I pause on the city wall to take in
This chill late January Sunday morning.
The Minster’s skirts slope green already
With spring, and the promise of later bluebells.
Clumps of snowdrops cling to the banks.
And, straight ahead of me, so close
I could reach to try and touch a feather,
A robin sits on a stump and pauses with me.
The head swivels a little, eyes alert,
But he doesn’t seem to fear me.
I can see the pulse of his heart,
The throb pressing the red throat.
I can see the tiny, silver cloud
Where his breath meets the cold air.
Do birds, chill-blooded, have warm breath?
Perhaps the cloud I see is mine.