Otto Weiss’s Corner

Even in the workshops we can hear them,
over the din of hammer and of saw,
the clear notes of canaries penetrate
like rain through summer shirts.

Waking, he whisks the covers from cages
a cheap magician’s trick, abracadabra,
song escapes, cascading through the hall,
rising to the domed glass roof in flight.

Cages of wicker, wire and wood festoon
his corner, hang like fruit in an orchard.
Each of us has dreams of creeping round
at night and setting his birds free.

Maggie Butt