Diane Hine

Silver Star - 4,143 Points (25 July 1956)

Birdbrain - Poem by Diane Hine

Streaking, braking, twisting snatching,
Willie Wagtail’s insect catching;
acrobatic chatterbox - a skite in black and white.
Overhead a falcon gliding
banks, adjusts and dives, colliding;
nail-gun talons strike and lightning reflex locks them tight.

Falcon claws rake empty feathers;
sacrificial Wagtail tethers.
Spiralling, he falls inside a crown of needled pine.
Cradled in a twiglet fence,
the Wagtail blinks, regaining sense.
A splintered wing’s a burden on his lacerated spine.

Wagtails are unused to resting,
soon the broken bird is testing;
asymmetric flutters as persistent seconds slip.
Drifting, slowly dehydrating,
ants begin investigating.
Fleeing nips, he hops until he’s stranded at the tip.

Still he watches insects flick;
the body clock’s insistent ticking
urges nesting, feeding, singing, borders to defend.
Tiny size can be deceptive,
this small bird is quite perceptive,
always making plans, with many duties to attend.

Finally he launches - sailing
briefly floats and cartwheels flailing;
Willie Wagtail tumbles through the nonjudgmental sky.

Insects hover, soon to plunder-
Can a bug feel smug?
I wonder....
but maybe birds can choose to linger or to fly.

Topic(s) of this poem: nature

Poet's Notes about The Poem

Really a type of fantail, the Willie Wagtail is a common bird throughout most of Australia and is often seen in urban areas.
It is fearless, territorial, inquisitive and clever.

Comments about Birdbrain by Diane Hine

  • Swetha Vanakayalapati (8/31/2012 12:12:00 PM)

    popping and locking....dance style in a poem.....i suppose...mean i feel.....stunning work! ! (Report) Reply

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  • (8/30/2012 3:12:00 PM)

    We new how it would end- right? His gallantry lives on. This is so delightful. Great job of introducing us to Willie! (Report) Reply

  • (8/19/2012 2:18:00 AM)

    Survival of the fittest; one of life’s sad realities. Poor bird. (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (8/18/2012 10:53:00 AM)

    How minutely you observe the birds.... you seem to be a friend of the feathered folks! Your themes are unique and your style, inimitable! ! (Report) Reply

  • Captain Cur (8/17/2012 10:22:00 PM)

    Nature at it's rawest yet most instinctive.
    The fight to survive and also to fulfill function.
    Very clear depiction of a interesting and clever
    bird portrayed well in this realistic story.
    (Report) Reply

  • (8/17/2012 6:17:00 PM)

    This is a beautiful poem. Tragic and yet a celebration of the dynamism of life and it's rhythems, and each strand of the Infinitesimally intricate web of life pulled taut and pulsing with its course until acted upon by another. Each organism a complete entity with habitat, life and culture, explorer, hunter, gatherer, parent, guard and so for each and every other living thing, extracting or waiting for carrion or for an opportunity. The measured language and rhyming and prose mix demonstrated precisely the flow then interruption and end of this beautiful little bird and it's ultimate death and nutrient recycling. A fine poem indeed. (Report) Reply

  • Valerie Dohren (8/17/2012 6:35:00 AM)

    The fight for survival well portrayed in this write - good one. (Report) Reply

  • Kelly Seale (8/17/2012 6:10:00 AM)

    Love how you enede this....
    Insects hover, soon to plunder-
    Can a bug feel smug?
    I wonder.....
    but maybe birds can choose to linger or to fly...

    Outstanding Write Diane! Outstanding!
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, August 17, 2012

Poem Edited: Thursday, April 10, 2014

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