Tom Vaughan: Magpies

Why do magpies come in twos?
Unless they’re trying to give us clues
by such a sentimental ploy:
one for sorrow, two for joy.

Swans apparently also
link up for life, like penguins (though
if one should die the other seeks
a new love after several weeks)

and wolves and albatrosses are
among the animals which star
in matrimonial affairs
as Nature’s quintessential pairs

but others are more cavalier:
they mate, then simply disappear,
and having this example shown
they seem quite happy on their own

while certain experts now divulge
there are some creatures which indulge
in same-sex habits, and conclude
it’s rare for beasts to prove a prude.

So if you look for lessons in
non-human lifestyles, and begin
by citing species you applaud –
beware, your case just might be flawed.