Breakfast On Mustique
Ghost koi, their sunflower-yellow button eyes
Unstitched, weave shadows in the morning sun
And suck on moss-backed stones. The tree ants run
Amok, their only thought to tyrannise
Some hapless aphid. Scab-red dragon-flies
Patrol just out of reach, jaws poised to stun
Their careless prey and drain them, one by one.
Night lilies fold away amidst the cries
Of Bequia-sweets at table, sword-sharp beaks
Extended — each scrap of food defended
From its neighbour. A tortoise heaves and wins
First prize: hibiscus flowers! Our kitten sneaks
Some bacon. The hungry night has ended;
Another day in Paradise begins.
Mandalay, Mustique January 17, 2002
‘Ghost’ koi are are a pure silver-white variety of ornamental fish. The Japanese call them Hikarimono or Ogon. The fact that mine have startling yellow circles around the eyes makes them ‘mongrels’ to koi-fanciers and virtually worthless for breeding purposes. Bequia -sweets (Quiscalus lugubris) are a form of Carib Grackle, common throughout the Lesser Antilles. Sharp-eyed, bold and abusive, they squabble interminably. Bequia, an island close by Mustique, is pronounced ‘beckway’.
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