A small boy crouched behind the kitchen door
to watch the doves, then threw some buttered bread
around the lawn. His patient father said,
I’ve seen this kindly act performed before,
and though you mean to feed the birds, my son,
your tasty treat will tempt the feral cats
to slink and hunt; and then there are the rats
and fox to fear; you’ll have us overrun.
As evening’s shadows dulled the green and chased
the remnants of a sleepy sun, three sparrows
and a finch settled by the garden barrows,
to peck at scattered crusts with cautious haste.
The small boy smiled and tugged his father’s cuff.
We’ll stand on guard until they’ve had enough.