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How the world works, 20 May

                                                                                   for my love

I check my emails – a Hudson’s Godwit has been spotted
in Rainbow Reach, but we stick to our plan and leave
in darkness, head south then halt for a drowning world.

Out of range, a Kookaburra whitens the mist, still as an illusion.
The last star was unresponsive fifteen minutes ago.

A road is disconnected, yet another map is out of date.
Police tapes hangs limply from a pole with goose bumps
of water, a warning that signposts can’t make up their mind.

The sun struggles through the forest fence, the lake
is dusty with mist, we look for birds waking up, not
twitchers just have a love for their flight, plumage,
songs, their zest, and it suits our calling as observers.

Close to the southern margin of Gumbaynggirr Country
Warrell Creek bleeds white. Walking to the edge,
a bomb starts ticking from a rushed scurry of splash.

A pair of Grebes paddle away to escape our presence,
never set foot on land. They prefer a flow, private lives.

It’s seven degrees mist curls off the bay at Scotts Head,
such exquisite sweeping curves, a god is using her finger
or physics to stir the sea, guiding the waves onto the beach.

My body thinks it can feel the unthinkable watching
a man without feathers, scales or wetsuit catch the waves.

Beyond the last surfer, a pair of Gannets charge short sweeps.
Long wings, angled back, dive at 80 kilometres an hour,
seemingly reckless but judged 9.9 (miserly). They vanish, bob
up and get back to work beating a curve up into the big space.

The clifftop walk hems the agitated sea, terns and gulls gather
together on a rock bumped by the creaming backwash. Australia’s
black fingers are choking water that froths and shudders.

A whale, way out, first of the season, sprays the white horses.
We climb back to the car, enclosed in wind bent trees and shrubs,
ducking under Banksias, Grey-fantails flutter overhead.


Opposite the café, well-trained frogmouths wait for the day to pass
in a flowering Paperbark, patiently ignoring the Lorikeet’s racket,
re-enacting a kind of reversal of Daphne’s metamorphosis.

Picking up Cormorants by a Native American, Eddie has reframed,
we check out the lake. An Azure Kingfisher darts for a bath, too
quick for my finger, almost instantaneous, pivots 180, exults
in being alive, dressed in expensive colours, quietly spoken.

The truth seems to need a view. Ospreys on the nest, kings of the castle,
glance down at me then look round, a bevy of ducks is heading their way
and seem to know where they are going beneath the arching sky.


I sniff the air, wholesome country air, respectable. Neither of us
have forgotten seeing the man in handcuffs with a ceremonial
guard of police outside the isolated farmhouse close by.

The red and green bins lining the kerb are waiting to be emptied,
our driveway plays the noise of Lorikeets, ratchet of a Satin Bowerbird
and the sweet vibraphone of Eastern Rosellas, on their way somewhere.

The scent of Osmanthus releases love – lucky we know how to find it.




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