augury doggerel

Sunday, April 14, 2002


The pair of magpies I watched from the bus stop came back after the snow and are well settled in their rough ball of mud and sticks (much like our apartment) over the millstream. And they have neighbors; another pair has built a similar rough ball of mud and sticks (tract houses) within yakking distance. Each nest will soon have five to eight green eggs beneath mama's hams, and then these red maws.

Common tales say these birds are thieves and demons, and maybe they are, but my mornings are better for them. A magpie behaves no more or less respectably than its cousins the crow, the raven, and the rook, but magpies are certainly asking for scorn in their showy white vests and long black tails. If the raven is an undertaker waiting in a black hearse, the magpie is twenty inches of good gaud cruising in a pimp's two-toned 1950s sedan with big fins.


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