MAGPIES by Kevin McMahon



When moonlight shrouds a killing field in shades of silver grey
whispery light disguises death and dove from bird of prey.
Magpies lay woodland wreaths beside the bodies of their dead,
stand a roadside vigil for the blood that they have shed.

The Magpie’s wing blots out the sky that turns a light on truth,
cold lies the shell of one young man denied the gift of youth;
they’ve pinned the ribbons on his corpse to show that he was brave.
His veins bleed dust as wife and child still quiver at his grave.

Some drape themselves in red and gold the plumage of their cause,
slow time march beside their dead to dignify their wars,
the cost of war is lost in pomp, a mask of sabotage.
Still we march and swathe our pain in lies of camouflage.

They loom disguised as windblown nuns blustering to church
oil stained feathers ruffled as they teeter on their perch
flags of pageantry and honour carefully unfurled
to the grinding gears of magpies chatter in a drowning world.

They jaw and jabber as the rotting carcass slowly bloats.
Maybe the devils seed gargles in the blackness of their throats?
Young men long to make their mark in killing fields of mud
genuflect to dip their beaks and sign their names in blood


Poem and Painting by Kevin McMahon