Summer 2005 Poetry Competition First Prize

City Stickers


by Carol Wolrich





The starlings have all gone to Brighton,

as clematis crawls, then falls on arches

called rustic, in a garden called town.

Thin bees bumble with feeble sacks of

orange fluff, like paltry saddlebags.

While, somewhere in the choked street,

a car alarm does a wild stint to

scatterbrain the sparrows with neurosis.


An urban fox packs up to leave for

the country, if he can make it through

security. The pigeons remain to snatch

a few easy crumbs, and to get by with

the latest guns. A lady, starched in minimal

white to match her drawing room, brisks

down the garden with posh scissors, to cut

bamboo grasses for her dinner party vases.


"We're having veal in crushed beetle sauce

for the main course," she informs a guest

on her mobile phone. "Yes, bring a bottle

if you like. No, not Valium, I mean a nice

red or white, to go with the pudding

truffle-ice with hedgehog clippings.

It's the latest thing. Now that we've

finished with old hat cuisine."


Soon, lying back on a raffia chair,

on a rug thrown up from a Delhi market,

she dozes by the bird-bath with a G & T,

and thinks she hears a white dove roar;

"A bird that is tired of London is simply

tired of London." Then it soars overhead,

but it's merely a jumbo jet. And Samuel

Johnson thought he'd seen it all.



 ©2005 Carol Wolrich

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