Tuesday poem: Budgerigar

April 9, 2013


Ten million green commas punctuate blue sky,
quick breaths of swooping wonder, multiplied.
Water-hole is your target; liquid rope pulls you
and the whole emerald sky is diving,
as miniature bodies scoop down to pool.
Your individual markings have taken you
further than native flight; outside the Louvre
I saw you, cold, trying to break in, as pointillist
as Pissarro, but so acrylic in your finish.
Proud but damp escapee from French balcony,
regretting the lost seed and the found liberty.
Plump and fresh, I have heard you were good eating,
a winging fast food charred to a turn;
as far from stringy battery chook as fingers in the fire.
Most know you singly: whistling in cages,
bowing and bobbing, rattling plastic mirrors.
Driven mad you ring and ring chink-chinky bells
or make love to that hard, hard-to-get reflection.

What joy to see you
just once, as you swoop,
one stitch amongst the tapestry,
a blade of grass in feathered turf carpet,
magically landing,
transforming dreary waterside
with that fallen sward of Eire.
Swift dragon of twenty million wings,
fluorescing with your simple, beak-filled joys.

P.S. Cottier


I wrote this poem quite a while back, but haven’t found the right place for it. Until now! Budgerigars live in huge numbers in inland Australia. Apparently they are our most successful animal export (excluding the woolly things). They are, I assume, no longer exported, but their proclivity for breeding makes them the world’s most popular cage bird. I’m sure they’d rather be back in the wild, if birds were capable of such choices.

For further poetry, click this feather, which is most definitely not that of a budgie:

Tuesday Poem

10 Responses to “Tuesday poem: Budgerigar”

  1. Lizz said

    Excellent poem PS thanks for sharing it!

  2. pscottier said

    Thanks Lizz! Note that sheep nudged their way into the commentary again…

    • kathleen Kituai said

      Australia’s magic … when I read this I’m back in my Grandy’s cottage in Perth. You capture the spirit of the bush and bird. thanks for sharing.

      • pscottier said

        Thank you Kathleen. I sometimes get a little sick of poetic ornithology, but that doesn’t stop me from doing it myself. As I know you do too, from time to time.

  3. An ode to budgies no less. I particularly like the contrast between the French escapee, the caged ones and the
    ‘Ten million green commas(who) punctuate blue sky’, Great stuff!

  4. pscottier said

    Thank you Helen. I wonder how many budgies live in Paris?

  5. That’s a particularly fine poem, Penelope – and what better subject to adorn with your gift for such vivid images as “swift dragon of twenty million wings” and “fallen sward of Eire”? You’ll have to come and check out the budgerigar’s local cousin, the kakariki, sometime…

  6. pscottier said

    Does the kakariki fly? I’ve heard of the kea, which eats everything. You do have many weird birds over there. (She said, as if the emu were normal.)

    Yes, they do sound worth a bit of a twitch, Tim.

    Glad you like the poem.

  7. Sarah Jane Barnett said

    I really responded to this poem, especially the image the the bird trying to mate with its own reflection, and the last two lines “Swift dragon of twenty million wings, / fluorescing with your simple, beak-filled joys.” Beautiful.

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