Gull Counting on Flat Holm

As it’s nearly gull count time of year we thought this poem by society member, Cheryl O’Brien seemed highly appropriate!

I’m sure they saw us coming
While we crossed from the mainland
As they saw us coming
The assault on us was planned.
They sat there in their hundreds
Across the island and the cliffs
Organising in battalions
To shower us with gifts.
We came as friends to count them
To measure numbers of the birds
To calculate their rise or fall
But it’s don’t think that’s what they heard.
The moment that they saw us
They started hollering and screaming
No sweet melodious songs,
Every nightmare we’d been dreaming.
They swooped, aimed for our heads
Gave us a swipe with taloned feet
Firing from both ends
The ammunition that they eat.
Hard hats, weatherproofs
The armour that we wore
Their aim almost perfect
As they totted up their score.
Some of us were covered
Some of us escaped
We all knew fully well
What could be called our fate.
In the end we managed
Found the nests and counted all.
They say manure’s a nutrient
Maybe now we’ll all grow tall.
At dusk we retreated
In a boat across the wild sea foam
Exhausted, soaked, aromatic
Leaving the gulls guarding their Holm.
Cheryl O’Brien 2021 ©

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