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bikes sticks birds
inner city Canberra
feathered bustle

PS Cottier

heron july

This beautiful bird was photographed in ‘inner city’ Canberra, a few kilometres from Parliament House. It was walking around a pond, one that was relatively recently created as part of a project to return some of Sullivan’s Creek to a more, um, creek-like state rather than the concrete drain it has been for a while.

In my little book Paths Into Inner Canberra I talk about this effort to recreate a ‘natural’ environment in a little more depth. But it’s great to be able to spot creatures like this heron so near to where I live.

Tuesday poem: (haiku)

May 29, 2017

clogged bitumen
two wheeled surgeons
arteries open

PS Cottier

bike stars

That’s my new, very old, bike above. The frame dates from before WWII, I am told, which is quite amazing. Now this bike stays strictly on pavement and bike-path, which is quite possible where I live in Canberra, so it does not slip through cars like a knife at all.

But it looks grey and interesting leaning outside cafés, having had a short rattle. An important thing for a starry bicycle.

bike 2

car with crest

The innocence of Nissan
corrupted by the cockatoo —
fifty squawks an hour.

PS Cottier

Now this is beyond obscure for those who do not live surrounded by huge flocks of sulphur crested cockatoos, as we do in Canberra. They sit in trees and throw unwanted food items at passers-by (or so it seems). When I saw this car, I pictured them taking over the world, and remaking it in the image of the sulphur crested cockatoo.

Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing. (Unless they created Donald Trump, who is also somewhat cresty. Though substantially less gorgeous.)

bigstock_Cockatoo_2821596

Muse with beak

Cockatoos

Yes, we’ve heard their sad repetitions,
the ‘pieces of eight’, the rote ‘Pretty boys’,
dropped from tired beaks like peanut shells;
birds bored far beyond the thinning bone.
Compulsive as a handwasher who never
satisfies herself against germy armies
(save her hands are gloved in blood,
and cleansed into gauntlets of agony)
the caged bird will repeat this or that,
sigh, then hear that weird word clever,
thrown at his misery like a charity coin,
a beggar at our table of meaning.

But to see them treed, hanging upside-down,
greeting wet wind like a blown umbrella,
yellow winking at sun like a wicked punch-line,
raucous joy a cascade of brassy cunning sax;
this is the true sound of this bossy bright thing.
Why quibble about what they know, or don’t?
A screech floats to ground like a metal bird,
cut with tin-shears by a half-blind drunk,
so gratingly loud that ears are near-shorn.
Cockatoos mar the sky with jagged freedom,
as far from a nightingale’s sweet treacle
as a sudden mouthful of shattered glass.

PS Cottier

grandville-cockatoo

An old poem this, but there are so many cockatoos in Canberra at the moment that I thought I would post it again.  I think of dinosaurs every time I hear one screech.  Whether that is unkind to dinosaurs is something we can’t know.

A limited number of autumns
mulched, or tumbled in a barrel,
spread thin, or just allowed to fall.
The angry man with the blower.
The desperate, toothy rake,
plied like a weapon to hold back
swarming leaves of dragon red.
Carpeting drive and inscribing soil —
the pointed, scarlet letters
of a limited number of autumns.

PS Cottier

leaves and cicada

I belong to the ‘let it fall where it will’ school of gardening, which must frustrate those with gardens that look like they were bought from Ikea and assembled with an Allen key.  There are many introduced species of trees in Canberra, which provide people with the ideal way of expressing their personalities as they battle the leaves.  Or not.