Do Not Feed the Pigeons

by George Chopping

Do Not Feed the Pigeons
     Based on a true story from 1997, when studying at
     Catering College in Torquay, Devon

Back from a sandwich on the seawall
I dropped in at the bakery for dessert —
some sweetness to counteract the lingering
savoury flavour of the salt sea air
(as one does)

Onward ambling up hill to campus
distracted by the stale status of my Chelsea bun
I reluctantly tore strips from it’s sugary coil
and whilst popping one particular piece
of the currant weighty pastry into my mouth
I came across a pigeon

inflated chest; a supervisor’s strut
hopping like a child on the scotch; on and off
the pavement curb, between me, the row of parked cars
and the stream of oncoming traffic

Disappointed by each mouthful of the cake
a charitable gesture ensued, yet a gesture with an underlying
rather murderous motive which triggered
the tearing and throwing of a small piece of bun towards the bird
(that was bobbing about between the bumpers of parked cars).

Sadly, due to the not-so-fresh nature of the cake
the bun bounced
and post the pigeon’s pounce
upon the Chelsea pensioner piece

from behind came
the wheels of a downhill headed van
that rolled straight over
the downhill facing pigeon

I couldn’t look but only gasp in shock
at what
I imagined to be
a sight of splayed feathers and bun.

Back to class to share of my despair
was where the response was not “there, there”
to spare me the guilt of guts spilt
But the feelings were

of upset and disbelief at the malice
that caused me to engage
in such a thoughtless act.

Especially amongst the vegans.