From the English version of ‘Epulario’ (The Italian Banquet), published in 1598;
“To Make Pie That the Birds May Be Alive In them and Flie Out When It Is Cut Up: …you shal put it into the coffin, withall put into the said coffin round about the aforesaid pie as many small live birds as the empty coffin will hold, besides the pie aforesaid. And this is to be at such time as you send the pie to the table, and set before the guests: where uncovering or cutting up the lid of the great pie, all the birds will flie out, which is to delight and pleasure…”
four and twenty in the pastry coffin.
Listen before you slice into it.
Is that a Robin or Blackbird’s
short, sweet song verses,
then endless improvisation?
The song a more mellow,
fluty whistle, four or five clear sounds
end with a weak, squeaky twiddle,
than long still notes that flood
into trickle, gush and gurgle
of the redbreast.
Take your sharpened knife
release the winged tasty notes
into colourful air to escape
through Spring’s opened warm windows,
and airing doors a new year’s feast.
2019 Paul Brookes
at my dreams
in the jungle
whistle whole day
By Jay Gandhi
Four and twenty, no more
Sacred or evil,
Yellow winged or melodious
Tri-coloured or pale,
It is still, a blackbird
Saintly to the Greeks,
Natures symbol of freedom
For some, of desire and temptation,
For a third, of salvation
What caused man to do blackbirding?
Know that blackbirds small, saved the house of worship-
While others with rye, broke the house of kingship,
One group in grace flies high
The other sits and hides in a pie.
2019 © CER Anjum Wasim Dar