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The Kingfisher

Metallic iridescent sheen, spikes and flashes

against summer’s lighter blue,

Aquamarine-tailed dinner jacket

accessorised by a starched collar of white.

He speeds low level,

like a pre-programmed cruise missile

Hurtling, single-minded,

Along this valley’s meanderingly slow river


he seeks to support his mate.

This Halcyon’s gilded breast

Flashes along a murderous path

like a Belisha beacon

reflected in the almost clear waters

First this way, then that, under, then over,

Covertly mapping this riverscape.

Unseen by those Pisceans, subsurface,

He and his mate are still both young.

He must impress her.

Show determination.

He spies a befitting perch

That affords sniper-like cover

Shadowed from detection by tall reeds and rushes

And then,

He dives

Like a wing-suited base jumper

Free-falling from the Burj Khalifa

His long black rapier bill

Humbles the water's surface

Plunging him deep into the crystal depths

tagging two unwary small silvered fish

In one motion, he returns to the surface

But struggles to re-break the water’s tension

with this additional load,

His feathers become imbued

with the staining of a green algal bloom

Then success, but at a price,

He must rest

pausing again on the small branch,

He looks at his catch, satisfied.

A few seconds pass, and he’s off

flying determinedly upstream.

where his future progeny's mother awaits

on their branch,

outside their nest,

He offers her the sticklebacks

She takes his gift gratefully

Devouring eagerly

She also takes comfort in that

he will be a good provider,

Both to their soon-to-be young family,

And to her.

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