Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday Poem: "Celebration"

Kookaburras start every morning with laughter.
Magpies are innately comic,
strutting about in waistcoats
like squires inspecting the estate.
Twenty-eights are flying surprises,
exploding from the trees like abstract art.
Willy wagtails cavort to unheard rhythms.

Up on the wire, a party of galahs
mock stony-faced people in serious cars.
Butcherbirds soft-shoe shuffle
for an unappreciative audience
of trouble-tranced commuters.
Wattlebirds limber up their throats
with unholy imitations of industrial noise.
Robins interpret the sun in miniature.

As I walk down to the dam,
lemon and peppermint fragrances
carry their aspirations on the rising dew.
Herons go lazily aloft like paper kites
while frogs taunt the swamp hens
with marshland gossip.

Surrounded by this joie de vivre
I wonder why our desires are many
when our needs are few.
Have we lost our invitation
to the celebration of the world?

POET'S NOTE: I wrote this poem several years ago when I lived on the eastern outskirts of Perth in a semi-rural area. I was always fascinated by how the Western Australian birds were different and yet bore many similarities to New Zealand birds. We have nothing quite so loud as a Kookaburra, but we have its smaller cousin, the Kingfisher. We have Magpies, but no parrots like the Twenty-eight, although we have Keas and other temperate-living parrots. And Willy-Wagtails are uncannily like a black-and-white version of our Fantail.

Anyway, I offer this poem as a Springtime rebuttal to all the gloomy stuff that flies around in the worldwide media like Syria, the Global Financial Crisis and a myriad of other woes. Sometimes, we need to appreciate the intangibles, the good and glorious things this Earth offers us.


  1. Such a great Asutralian "feel" to this... Enjoyed.:)

  2. I love the way life goes on - raucus and birdy - in the middle of the daily grind of the work commute.

  3. Thanks, Helen and AJ. Yes, it is very Australian and yes, "raucous and birdy", is a neat phrase to capture the sentiment of the poem, AJ.

  4. those small details which cry out make this poem so memorable, Andrew. Really enjoyed this! And that last stanza, posing a question like that, make it more than just an observation of details... it's so much more.

  5. Thanks, Michelle. How's life in the beautiful Winterless North? I lived in Wellsford as a child, from about age 9 to 12. I had a ball. Although it probably wouldn't have been so exciting as a teenager. I've always had a soft spot for Northland. I even represented Rodney County in rugby in the ASB Tournament for Primary Schools. Got my arm broken unfortunately in the last game of the tournament.

  6. Exquisite, Andrew. I see birds as messengers conveying truths only they can show us. I especially love the butcherbirds soft-shoe shuffling, the lemon and peppermint carrying their aspirations on the rising dew, the herons lazily aloft like paper kits. . . a poem asking to be painted?! Would it be okay if I shared this to FB? I would also like to put a link to it from my blog. The concluding question 'have we lost our invitation to the celebration of the world' is one that begs asking every day. Thank you. Claire

  7. PS. Your poem 'That Tuesday' in Blog Carnival is powerfully affecting. Congrats on being in that publication.

  8. Hi Claire,

    Yes, by all means, feel free to share this to FaceBook and put a link to it from your blog.

  9. Hi Andrew - thank you. An email to you next. . . ; )