Sulphur Crested White Cockatoos

Mark Liston

In a raucous mob, up from the river
in evening’s first yellow flare, they
perch on camphor limbs, whiter than high clouds.
We watch with smiles of anticipation
a day’s work now worth soothing therapies.

One circles to reconnoitre the yard
and lands expertly on the feed-bowl rim.
His erected crest waves the sulphur splashes
of wild bird semaphore: it’s safe to eat!
The choir tunes up, all ten excite the air.
So, our quiet dusk squawks and crackles,
now for feed time; a bird celebration.

Before darkness stains, a ripple air shifts.
They all flap hard to hide back in the tree
as if sensing an eagle, and escape
like children running from backyard playground.

We hope they return for each evening’s feast.

Contextual Essay:  The first things you notice about the Central West of NSW is the sky (shades of blue) and birds. Especially the bigger birds. The loudest and most plentiful are the cockatoos. These ones are Very Happy in our back yard and seem to bring the larger environment around into a smaller Place like our backyard. It allows you to feel part of a bigger place.

Mark’s poems appear in many Anthologies: Famous Reporter, Newcastle Prize and Roland Robinson, Australian Poetry Anthology, Rochford St Review and Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, Wet Ink, Burrow, Hammond House UK, and Verve. He was Café Poet in Newcastle for two years, and has been part of poetry/writers groups in Newcastle, Maitland, Dubbo, Launceston, and Burnie Tas.



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