The small tin-boxes that contain screws.
The small tins with their worn-off trade marks,
originally intended to contain something else,
now contain screws. And nothing else.
A late autumn day, in a strong gale the magpies come
a whole dozen, flapping at the roadside.
The philosopher Plato, aged like a primary teacher,
in an unwashed jersey, considers them dispassionately
and knows that the archaic language they speak
is a dialect of the Ionic. Incomprehensible.
The world of ideas does not exist in rainy weather.
Once I too had a form to see with
and then understood the visible world.
One of these tins, small tin-boxes, has a picture on it,
one in fact of a gold medal in Amsterdam.
It now contains screws. Nothing but screws.
What other birds do I know of?
The wren. The wren of soundless stealth.
In the dusk between the hills and the houses.
Pauses for a moment at the edge of the ditch.
Utterly silent in flight.