I stole that title from Wordsworth, of course. I was out for exercise yesterday, and noticed how many birds there are in Canberra, particularly sulphur-crested cockatoos and corellas, with lots of young birds begging to be fed.

corellas

The sun was out, and I found myself plainly happy, totally forgetting about coronavirus for a short while. Of course, just for a moment, and soon it was back to skirting around any other walkers and cyclists. I felt almost guilty for feeling so good, thinking about the many older people stuck inside, and the crew of the cruise ship Ruby Princess still confined aboard, and, of course, the people who have died from the virus.

The hundreds of dogs so delighted that their owners are home so much more now have no inkling as to the virus, and I envy them their lack of knowledge.

My mind wagged
my thoughts spaniels
licking the air

We are lucky that we can still get out and stroll around here in Canberra for necessary exercise, and even buy a takeaway coffee, and observe the natural world that reaches right into suburbia. Helps keep one relatively sane.

Tuesday poem: haiku

April 16, 2019

Autumn wind

white leaves swirling

cockatoos

Muse with beak

In Canberra at the moment there are thousands of sulphur crested cockatoos and corellas, supplemented with galahs and gang-gang cockatoos. Some of these birds come down from the higher mountains to avoid the even worse cold, and some stay here all year round.

This morning I was having a coffee outside a café watching a cockatoo eat seedpods in a tree, making the leaves fall down, as many other birds flew overhead. Blame him/her for this little poem.



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.

paths cover

Here is the cover of the Pocket Book that has just been published by Ginninderra Press of South Australia. God, I am sure that the woman on the cover can ride that bike fast. (I am lying.) The photo was by Geoffrey Dunn, as is the one of the cockatoo below.

The essay inside in bejewelled with poems, and discusses the bikepaths of Canberra, cockatoos, what we mean when we speak of nature, turtles, and has more than a little memoir throughout.

It can be purchased from the woman on the bicycle, or from Ginninderra Press, for $4, plus postage, which will be modest too.
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