Mandy Macdonald /Machine-spotting (Cathedral Square, Christchurch)/

Machine-spotting (Cathedral Square, Christchurch)

Look over there! Yellow earth-movers, a pair!
Feeding on shattered stone, concrete, plaster rubble —
see how elegantly they swan their metal necks,

how gracefully they dip their steel heads
to scoop up a particularly tasty morsel –
a leafy Victorian capital, for instance,

or a tortured length of lead piping.
Fortunately, they’re not endangered — in fact,
their numbers have risen sharply here since 2011.

There are now many breeding pairs
throughout the city centre, grazing among ruins,
their song a steampunk dirge of rattling chains

and groaning pistons, and crunching, crashing rock.
But for the racket, their dance would be as eerie
as a sarabande of ghosts.

Oh look, look now, they’re spinning around!
They’re doing a courtship dance, offering each other
bucketfuls of seismic detritus!

They mate for life, you know.

 

 

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