Hopeful visits me each morning
He tells me that man is ruled by a tyrant
whose name is Ignorance
and given half a chance
He would seek to overthrow that tyrant
if only I would throw him some scraps of food . . .
I tell him I have no authority to fulfil his wishes
or indeed to fill his feathered belly
and why doesn’t he go fish
like all good fisherbirds do?
Hopeful tells me authority is based on falsehoods
whereas knowledge is authority based on truth
and why shouldn’t I throw him some scraps
as he is poor and I am surely rich
and man should not be ruled by the tyrant called Ignorance
but by knowledge instead . . .
Or by conscience I reply
for if I feed you my scraps
you will forget how to fish
like the fisherman who forgets to wake
and misses the tide . . .
Ah, the ‘time and tide that waits for no man’ saying
spoke Hopeful with reproach
is not your conscience the amount of inner knowledge you possess?
but for me that time is running out
and those tides share little fish . . .
Hopeful tried fixing me with his beady eye
but I was having none of it
I said: one day the tide will turn back in your favour
and what is left will go unsaid . . .
Let’s hope, said Hopeful, not convinced
that when that time does come
it will not be too late . . .
He stretched his neck to the heavens
and like all our morning chats
it ended with a defiant shit
a fearsome screech
and a preening of the wings
but sadly no scraps for lunch

With thanks to Hopeful the Seagull in St. Ives and Victor Hugo.