Monday, September 26, 2011

30 Poems in 30 Days
Day 26 - include an animal

Paying Attention: Walking by the Lerderderg River

A patch of down feathers, grey and white
the size of a garden bird bath -
two vaned feathers white near the hollow shaft
black on the upper barbs - I guess Peewit
but what happened? There is no blood.
What story will I tell myself?

In the trees, and busy on the ground
wrens, wagtails, and a variety of lorikeet
not pictured in my Field Guide to the Birds
of Australia, make music. Other varieties
unseen, chatter, twitter, sing, and I imagine
them feathering their own nests.

- and ponder on the modern sense of deception
we add to that phrase. And because I am human
I tell myself the birds are celebrating, happy.

The quiet "pobblebonk" sounds from the dam -
and now I think 'cautious', 'lonely' - make me
happy as I have strained to hear them for weeks.

I am about to spin a yarn about the 'roar'
of the freeway, and ask myself what is that noise,
really? Do lions sound like that? Some heavy
trucks growl and thunder, yes. But the cars -
no, they come to my ears because of wind -
bearers of small storms and the sound of gales.

A young woman and her dog approach.
We exchange greetings, the dog moving
to her offside when I speak. I walk through
her trail of sweet perfume and once again
the cloud of lorikeets rises into the twisted red gum
calling sharply, while swallows make silent loops.

The feathers I have pocketed sit lightly.
I consult Wikipedia. Although feathers are light
a bird's plumage weighs two or three times
more than its skeleton, since many bones
are hollow and contain air sacs. There is nothing
to make of that. I retain a sense of wonder.

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