Breakfast on Mustique

Felix Dennis
January 17, 2002
Mandalay, 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.

‘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’.