At the Natural History Museum



           Caged in an ornate cabinet

                  artfully placed by human hand


                a hundred brilliant birds

      posed on a long-dead branch.


A breeze streams in from summer streets

heady scented, nectar-sweet.


Faint at first the humming wings,

the rapid tap of rapier beaks


shattering the fragile glass

                                           the air alive with jewelled darts


rainbow slivers shimmer bright

                                                      dip and weave 

                                                                               through ancient bones


                                                                                                    racing on toward the light.


Jenny Donnison