Treasure Island

Diane Hine

(25 July 1956)

Opportunist


An alliance seeking bird should present
a quiet and respectful demeanour.
The Drongo eschews gaudy ornament
and resembles a clerk or court convener
when perched in a high branch above, perhaps
a lively assembly of Pied Babblers
nesting in lower branches or a rapt
convention of anxious Meerkat scrabblers.
The Drongo's upright stance and plain black tail-coat
promote an impression of trustworthiness
so that honest warnings loosed from her throat
(gratis) are heeded by her new-found friends.
In hard times she may falsely cry snake! eagle!
hyena! (rarely wolf! - we're in Africa)
swooping in the panic to pilfer a meal.
If that doesn't work, she must be cannier
and mimic their own unique alarm calls.
A dazed and disarmed scorpion is fair
payment for her work as a sentinel
since the ingrates are unwilling to share,
yet they seem aggrieved rather than flattered.
Never mind, she spies smoke on the savannah
and flies to where the grounded things scatter,
chased by nature's swiftest bloodiest fangs.
Beak agape, she joins jewelled show-stopping
Rollers and Bee-eaters streaking through the fire's
wavering haze, where fat frantic grass-hoppers
jump out of the flames and into the fliers.

Submitted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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  • Ray Quesada (4/7/2013 6:35:00 AM)

    i love how you rhyme the ends of your lines - while a lot of people are rhyming moon with june, and tree with free, you're rhyming perhaps with rapt, and present with ornament. I can't explain it except to say its very adult...but that's still not the word... i think the nature of lyricism is to be playful/light-hearted (even when you read a dreary poem that rhymes, it almost always has a childishness to it somehow, like it's making fun of itself for being so serious, maybe?) - i think i mean to say that you do a great job blending seriousness/technique with playfulness...which makes for a memorable reading. :) (Report) Reply

  • Ray Quesada (4/7/2013 6:35:00 AM)

    i love how you rhyme the ends of your lines - while a lot of people are rhyming moon with june, and tree with free, you're rhyming perhaps with rapt, and present with ornament. I can't explain it except to say its very adult...but that's still not the word... i think the nature of lyricism is to be playful/light-hearted (even when you read a dreary poem that rhymes, it almost always has a childishness to it somehow, like it's making fun of itself for being so serious, maybe?) - i think i mean to say that you do a great job blending seriousness/technique with playfulness...which makes for a memorable reading. :) (Report) Reply

  • Www.poemhunter.com/m-d-dinesh-nair-2 Search 2 (3/5/2013 7:20:00 AM)

    Opportunism has unfortunately begun to be rated as display of common sense of varying degrees. The poem is an honest narrative on the explicit helplessness of any one who is devoid of concerns for others but who has learned how to stay back. (Report) Reply

  • Thomas A Robinson (2/28/2013 6:25:00 PM)

    Out of the flames and into th fliers... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
    Made my day today Diane! ! !
    Great poem and humor. (Report) Reply

  • Danny Draper (2/28/2013 1:48:00 AM)

    Great descriptive write with a fine clever, but casual style with a playful ending. Loved the language of the last 2 lines. (Report) Reply

  • Veeraiyah Subbulakshmi (2/26/2013 9:09:00 PM)

    very descriptive poem on opportunists! each metaphor can be imagined in detail! Diane! this poem is totally different and I enjoyed reading this poem, searching for the clues where any of us stand in any of your description! (Report) Reply

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