Rich Burkmar

An economically curious ecologist

Paean for the Meadow Pipit

About the moor from tussock, post and wall
pipes up the onomatopoeic pipit,
cheering mass trespassers, walkers and all.
Its modest song condensed from sunshine spills
over spiraling glide to gladden hearts below
as though the people’s parachuting poet!

No flash aristos garb, no painted feathers;
it wears the tawny duds of a key worker.
Prey to dashing Merlin and Hen Harrier.
Predator of mass emerging flies.
Foster parent to the ingrate Cuckoo.
Keystone of the moorland ecosystem.

Let others take the plaudits –
the pipit knows its place,
but millennia’s peat bury more
their bones than any other class.
From office, home and factory head for freedom
moor and sky, where you may glimpse the lauded birds
but look a pipit in the eye.