Flickerings of sunflower yellow
catch my eye through the window:

a charm of cheerful goldfinches
is flashing round my winter garden,

seeking seed from trees, bushes
and last summer’s weeds,

tinkling to one another
as they alight on pin-thin twigs,

their music the sound of sea-shells
dangling and touching in a breeze.

They’re a jolly circus act,
swinging like acrobats on catkins,

their faces coloured like clowns’,
holly-berry red around the beak,

which legend alleges they dipped
in the blood of the crucified Christ,

as in mercy they pecked the
thorns from his mocking crown.

Fickle as sunshine, they fly off;
the garden reverts to winter grey,

but their bold brilliance
continues to shimmer behind my eyes.