Collective nouns


I’ve seen
starlings murmurate, heard exaltations of larks
witnessed crows plot murder in lawless corners of the park.
I’m told owls hold parliament because they’re clever and also wise…
and I’ve gawped as gulps of swallows flee from fading summer skies.
I’ve braved bellowings of bullfinches, watched gnats pulsate in clouds
but as a mere human being I mostly hang
around in crowds

I’d prefer
to skulk with foxes, perhaps party with the jays
chase charms of glowing goldfinches, shiny as sun rays.
Unleash unkindness with ravens, join the herons’ iron siege
deal deceit with lying lapwings, help scything swifts to screech.
I’d tangle with a knot of toads, if it were allowed –
anything is better than
being in a crowd.



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