Saturday, 18 February 2012


It was a summer of the seventies,
this story by the bye is gospel true,
a pink flamingo took off with the breeze
and found the Exe. She came from Paignton Zoo.

She made our smoky heron look quite frumpy.
She curtsied to them but they looked elsewhere
and made the cormorant seem dull and dumpy
but cormorant are not the birds to care.

She flurried human hearts at Exton station
of all who travelled up and down the line.
There she appeared like some high born relation
among the muddied birds who peck the brine.

Sometimes we'd catch her trying to be clever,
standing on one thin leg, a haulm of straw.
We marvelled and we hoped she'd stay for ever
to brighten up the estuarial shore.

For these her vivid ways, her shows diurnal,
we estuary dwellers gave her thanks.
A picture of her in The Exmouth Journal,showed her flamenco-dancing on the banks.

For weeks this stranger stayed here suavely feeding,
her gorgeous plumage caught the summer sun.
She graced the river with her noble breeding
but come one Monday morning she was gone.

I’d like to think she made it back to Paignton
to tell her babes about the birds she’d met
and, though the notion is a somewhat quaint one,
I’d like to think they talk about it yet.

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