Cock Pheasant

Graham Mort

He appeared in March, self-enchanted, rooting up
hyacinths, staring into the greenhouse, through

the kitchen window, a stray from woodlands where
others roosted with that chucking sound he never

uttered. Until one day he was on the roof outside
the casement where I’m writing now, head tilting

blazing bronze and green, an exultation, an opulent
alien, a prince in exile, exotic here in Yorkshire

where hills are still striped with snow, a skin of
cold on the pond each morning when I look for him.

He’ll be back, bustling through the air, breakfasting
in daffodils, staring through a pane of glass

astonished by himself, auditing our household things:
the food blender, the bread-crock, the kitchen sink’s

quotidian fable. Or he’ll follow my hand, pecking out
words with the mechanical fixity of birds. A cock

pheasant, a hapless migrant, hyper-real, dimorphic
mateless, miraculously other and here. I catch a

glimpse of myself in his wide-eyed searching for
another self, my iterations hatched from the pupil

of his yellow eye: repeating, shrinking, and – just
now – cold and still as ice and infinitely clear.