Are Magpies Gods or Spy Cameras? by Martin Christmas

Sitting on a ledge
of the steel and glass office block
across the street on level six,
a magpie, sitting at one end.

Suddenly this magpie runs,
hops, along the ledge
six levels high, looking,
watching the world below,
or is it?

Every so often it stops,
peers over the ledge,
then runs or hops a little distance,
stops, peers, repeats this ritual
until the other end.

Out of ledge, six levels above
the homeward traffic rush,
it sits quite still,
peering over the ledge,
or so it seems to me,
gauging the traffic,
sitting absolutely still.

Maybe after all
birds are winged gods.
Benevolent, I hope.
It sits there, still, bemused, benign.
Unmoved and undeterred.
God like.

Or maybe just a spy camera,
wheeled into place by some shady
state government bureaucracy
to watch the shifting traffic
heading home.
Looking up again
I see it’s gone.
Not a camera after all.
Just a winged god.

‘All’s well with Adelaide’,
the magpie can report.