Jerome Betts -- Hail to the Chough

( Wild choughs have been nesting in Cornwall since 2002
following an absence of over half a century as a breeding species.)


Did the piskies mop and mow
And St Piran thump his thorax
Pining for their red-billed crow,
Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax?

It had lost its fine-cropped turf,
Fruit of constant grazing (ovine),
Likewise by the Duchy surf
Beetles wrapped in droppings (bovine).

Nineteen forty-seven, year
Full of prophets’ dismal snufflings,
Saw just one last pair appear
With a nest of native choughlings.

Yet, in time, and bit by bit,
Birder, expert, landlord, farmer,
Joined to make the cliff tops fit
And reverse that corvine karma.

So, where waves along its coast
Carve out jagged coves and sea-nicks,
Cornwall now can once more boast
Pyrrhocorax pyrrhophoenix!

Jerome Betts