James Charlton

(1947 - / Melbourne / Australia)

Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos - Poem by James Charlton

Random as rags whooshed off a truck,
they indolently amble on the air. This caterwaul:
wee-la. Yes, there,


husky, high. It seems an idle sortie,
a lope of meander-flight, a frittering in the eye
of foul weather.


Gale winds begin to split and peel
a suburb of weather-board husks, but the flock
keeps following its memory-grid


to grubs in weakened trees. (Birds like these
saw dinosaurs plod through dust.)
They prise, rip,


rasher the acacia bark, and change trees,
wheeling and veering like black Venetian blinds
collapsed at one end.


Then they dip, curious,
to an English willow;
shimmy down bare verticals on hinge-claws;


whir out
on a glissade of whoops:
concertina-tailed, splay-winged, wailing.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012



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