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Geese Crossing

By: Nora Thurkle

About The Poem

This poem is inspired by the Canada geese living at the old Peter Pan’s Pool outside the Homebase store in Catford, Lewisham, close to the border with Bromley borough.

They can often be seen crossing the road with their goslings to feed on the grass outside St John’s Church opposite. During lockdowns, I have often taken my young daughter to look at the surprisingly diverse wildlife at the pond. Not just geese but moorhens, herons, mallards, tufted ducks, cormorants, little egrets and even terrapins.

You can see a video of passers-by assisting the geese here

The Poem

Wildlife crossing signs, red-rimmed,
appeared after the last brood lost
numbers, yellow-downed and broken
under wheels. Now cars wait while those waiting
at the bus stop take video on their phones,
people step into the road with hands
held up, a rare excuse to chat to someone they
don’t know, breach the social distancing rules,
momentarily. They’re taking their time!
Horns used by people who don’t drive past here
much. Aren’t people impatient! An adult on
either side, brown feathers white-bordered
like fungus. A thing that lives, despite
all – this. Parading, sauntering, strutting,
you could make an argument
for any of these verbs.
The flexion of their black rope necks,
beaks tapping at the air, ushering
the goslings up the kerb. They nibble
the grass and weeds in front of St John’s Church,
the big ones standing by like first-time
parents at a play group. Back in the pond,
uneaten white bread floats on scum. A meagre
little oasis. Have a gander at this then.

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