A French woman scientist has written a study of a grey parrot with whom she has been rationally interacting for twenty years. One can hold a detailed and elaborate conversation with this winged genius, he has a sense of humour and is numerate. On leaving the house he will offer a protracted and spontaneous goodbye; and ask you as an afterthought to kindly to pick up three packets of potato crisps at the supermarket. Apparently he has a strong sense of the past and the future.

In the following sonnet I pay homage to the architectural skills of swallows. Inquisitive scientists are investigating the mysteries of nest complexity, observing that birds exhibit intense behaviours comparable to human parental responses. And as poets look at the natural world with lateral thinking we realize that we are surrounded with fervid non-human intelligence.

Every time a rocket blasts through the upper atmosphere injecting dangerous chemicals into the stratosphere I remind myself that Robert Graves believed the NASA moon landing to have been the greatest blasphemy of the last two millennia. We are never alone in a shamanic universe.

Have you watched swallows nestbuilding
beaks overflowing with wet mud
to pack in the wooden scaffolding
cementing twigs with their lifeblood
when slow-prowling cats in the eaves
hunt the housebuilder who weaves
the fabric of her intricate home:
some miraculous inverted dome
worthy of Sir Christopher Wren.
I have seen flickers of indigo
flashing from blue wings aglow
where life takes form in an earthen
cradle shaped like a hemisphere
in the summertime of the year.

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