The homing pigeon

by John Boland

I am an embarrassment to my profession.
I seek a kind of liberty.
My instincts overpower my training.
Released each time from bondage,
I listen dutifully, obediently,
my eyes riveted on my destination.

But once out of cage, of hand, of sight,
I fly free. Look, they have instructed me,
make for Putney (or Donegal, or Normandy),
and a message which means something to someone
is strapped to my leg (the ignominy!).
But instead I fly to Siam
because I have never been to Siam
and it is something new,
and I drop the message in the sea.

Some day, no doubt, they’ll find out,
they’ll catch me, I’ll be kept at home,
my feathers plucked, in disgrace.
But I will wait for my luck to run out.

What I am doing is strictly for the birds.

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