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The peregrine sulked as she sat in her cage,
a malevolent glint in her eye
at the falconer, seething with impotent rage
at her sullen refusal to fly.

The public were queuing to watch the display
of the bird’s aerobatical skill,
but the falconer gloomily turned them away
saying, Sorry, the peregrine’s ill.

The bird kept on sulking, ignoring her food,
and was losing both feathers and weight,
till her poor frazzled keeper was forced to conclude
she was dying for want of a mate.

If she falls off her perch then our revenue ends
(he observed) and the future’s a blank.
So a tercel was found, with the help of some friends
and a sizeable loan from the bank.

The tercel (that’s in-speak for masculine hawk)
was delivered by Falcon Express.
When the peregrine saw him she uttered a squawk
which the falconer took for a Yes.

Her woeful demeanour, her pitiful hunch
disappeared at the drop of a hat.
She pounced on her suitor and ate him for lunch,
thinking, Gosh, I feel better for that!

There should be a moral to round off this tale,
a meaningful moral and true,
of a devious female, an innocent male,
a meal at a price that would make a man quail
and a desperate plan that was destined to fail,
but I think that’d spoil it. Don’t you?

(Winner of the Settle Sessions group’s humorous
verse competition for National Poetry Day 2016)