Surprised, Monday morning, 4 April

I wake to rain, surprised, rain keeping it promise,
the sea is disguised as sky disguised as sea
and kitchen clock hammers out the time
when a brand-new war is happening so far away
when influencers take selfies on a yacht so far away,
where the earth is so wet each step sinks
and you marvel that there’s anything solid left.

I lean on the balcony eating an apple listening to the scatter.
A Whipbird drifting down the creek line, an Eastern Rosella
delicately chiming from our Tallowwood, can’t see the colours –
a growling Catbird, two Bar-shouldered Doves calling over
the house, a Pied Butcherbird’s jaunty three note phrase.

A Scaly-Breasted Lorikeet flies into the Ericafolia below,
cocks it head to check me out then starts to suck nectar.
As I enjoy my apple, the bird flies at me, squirting as he
climbs, or she with identical feathering and colouration.
I feel the feathers tickle my scalp, she lands inches away
looking at me, must be being fed, such a small bird, brave,
within my grasp or vice-versa. I am stunned by the detail,
the red ringed eye, curved bill, orange with a yellow tip
and the mosaic of plumage, bright as flowers, radiant.

Why would I want my camera with me, why do I want
my camera with me? The conditions for truth lie here
with now not in a picture I can drop into, take my time.
At any moment he will fly, and does with a sharp squeal
onto the Bottlebrush next to the Banksia and my body
shifts, arousal relaxed, blood pressure, adrenaline
perhaps cortisol levels falling, peak attention over
moments worth a fortune are quickly discharged.

I drop the core into the tangle of Golden Lyre, Austromyrtus
and ferns and head back to my ears. In a few minutes new
songs appear, the Pied Butcherbird has changed his tune
to a melancholic two note rendition, the first White-throated
Gerygone for a while, a lovely falling trill, and a Fan-tailed Cuckoo
singing a gloomy falling trill, a Satin Bowerbird grunting next door
a Kookaburra far away. Surprised again, the crickets are silent.

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