Two Boxing Day Poems
A weak form of the Capgras phenomenon
Jagun, Boxing Day
After 60 mls of rain I take advantage of a seed
of blue sky and head to the creek expecting
burst banks and a turbulent crossing,
wood scent lifts from the glistening woodland,
the track is strewn bark and branch,
what’s strange is a flickering of Breynia
and Bracken then glimpses of tall wispy tails.
You always hear wrens when you see them,
continual high pitched contact calls, tzit
tzit while foraging near the forest floor,
dangerous terrain for a 10-gm fairy-wren.
Today the loudest insect in the world
Double Drummer cicadas
are painting this whole world in mime
and the wrens just don’t seem to be wrens.
In Ireland, wrens were hunted on St. Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day) and bound to the wrenboy leader’s staff, dead or alive. The bird was paraded through the streets with mummers (or strawboys) who wore masks, straw suits and colourful clothing. They played music and sometimes sang, ‘A penny or tuppence would do it no harm’ as they collected money from the crowd. In Celtic myth the robin (representing the New Year) killed the wren (which represented the Old Year). More recently, a fake wren sits atop a decorated pole.
Double Drummers, Jagun, Boxing Day
How does a female choose a mate in that racket
with sounds superimposed over sounds
and each sound continuous to the human ear,
sweet music to specially adapted ears?
Sybil: Don’t forget the menu.
Basil: I thought you said you want . . . Right! I’ll do the menu!
Sybil: You could have had them both done by now if you hadn’t spent the whole morning
skulking in there listening to that racket.
Basil: Racket? That’s Brahms! Brahms’ Third Racket!