“Ode to A Magpie,” by Aubrey Steptoe

Aug 20th, 2021 | By | Category: Poetry

A magpie on a slippery branch
In the cloying wind!
A gloomy October day…

And yellow leaves
Pale and wet against
Somewhat plagiarized black boughs

Anyway this magpie stares into space, or just at the sky—
Or flies off at random to another branch
Seeming to contemplate nothing

Because actually he/she/it really does
Contemplate nothing
Nor needs a lightbox for a serotonin boost

Nor vitamin D to mimic sunlight
Nor St John’s Wort whatever on earth that is
Nor ice-cold showers in the morning

Nor needs to concentrate on being positive and loving life by smiling
Vainly, idiotically—fatuously—
In the misty bathroom mirror

For after all
It’s just a stupid magpie
On a stupid pointless branch


The late Aubrey Steptoe was brought up in Surrey, England, but then migrated to the United States before returning back (that same afternoon) to Surrey.

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