I now believe that she was sheltering there,
Not trapped at all, just resting in the warm,
Away from the sharp cut of frozen air
Swept from the arctic in a late spring storm:
A dunnock perched content on outhouse beams,
Plump-feathered in striped brown and misty grey,
That I disturbed from drowsy dunnock dreams
To startled flight. Away! Escape! Away!
I tried to grasp her gently, but in vain.
She flew straight for the freedom that she saw
In a false hope, a death-glass window pane.
Neck broken, she lay twitching on the floor.
I deeply mourned the life gone from this thing
Whose beauty seemed too fragile to be true.
How had the tiny foot, the slender wing
Survived the winter she had struggled through?
And yet she had survived, and thrived, until
A thoughtless human, acting on a whim,
Assumed that nature would respect his will
And leave the choice of life or death to him.
But nature does not follow mortal plan,
She works in subtle ways that are her own;
She does not follow paths laid down by man,
And wise men learn to leave her ways alone.