From ivied stage a robin serenades,
while in the meadow grass his broody hen
hops among the boulders and invades
a crevice, moulding lichen for a den
to lay her brood. The parasite’s near call
provokes the bubbling chuckles of his mate;
she spies the moss concealed within the wall
and sneaks an egg inside to incubate.
Her chick emerges, fluttering to prise
all redbreast babies out. Instinctively,
it simulates their empty bellied cries.
Poor surrogate is hoodwinked by its pleas
and forages for worms, to satisfy
that constant gaping beak. Thriving it grows
to thrice the foster’s size. Ready to fly,
behemoth baby quits the crib and crows
cu coo. . . .cu coo. . . .cu coo
by Eira Needham
Editor’s Note: Enjambment and rhyme skillfully illustrate the ruthlessness of the season in this spring poem.