Holding The Sparrow

Despite collar bells,
she is regularly adept
at catching birds,
my soft-slippered, swift-limbed cat.
At least it seems a grace
that she sometimes  presents her trophies
intact at the back door.
Once I retrieved a sparrow from her jaws still alive,
vainly hoping it would fly,
as indeed a full-grown blackbird
I had once unprised unscathed.
But this little thing, although apparently ungouged,
was too great in shock
ever again to lift into sky.
I cupped her in my hands,
hoping to warm her for whatever journey,
but the life slipped from her
and she left me behind with her
delicate boneframe
and ordinary marvel of feathers.
I felt hugely god-like yet powerless,
provident, yet helpless to restore
or reassure
that there was kindness at work in the world.
I cradled her until the warmth had gone.
When finally I put her aside,
a spot of blood from her beak
fell onto my palm,
and her memory into this poem.

Grief and Loss