Winter Solstice 2010

Duck Hole Lake Tasmania
for Annie Dillard (there’s a platypus in that lake somewhere)

When I think of poetry I reach for magpie song
Muddle monkeys waddle below
Power startled by this sharp correlation
Mystery and recognition widen His eyes
This through the phrase
That thumps through the eyes
To the heart

Doomed and small but so what?
Solstice without wine but with fire
Tonight I taught my son to sew
Figuring the path from verb to breath to nerve
Via the heart

We imagine for a poem we simply do
But doing all the time imagine on the run
And simply don’t

Now at the sweet end of exhalation
Low point of light
We wait

For all of it to confuse us again

5 Replies to “Winter Solstice 2010”

  1. More by way of an author’s footnote than a pathetic self-comment:

    We should note that the Australian magpie is not the same as the English, which is a most intelligent bird. Ours is not even in the same Family but if its intelligence is measured by grumpiness it’s comparable; on the other hand I’ve seen one fly into a picket fence and get its head caught between the pickets and have had to remove it with a towel. I’m not making fun of them – the report of their language above is a part of a much longer tribute, which no doubt I will never finish. In fact, their intelligence has been studied separately. I go with Marge Piercy, who in “Crows” talks about building her relationship with the birds. I not only believe that my favour to this poor young magpie stands me in good stead with the local tribe, but even with other tribes of magpies if you talk to them in their language they won’t see you as a threat. Perhaps we should roll on our sides to show submission, as they do for one another, but I’d prefer to believe they credit my attempts. They seem to.

  2. Hey Paul
    We are persecuted by currawongs which i believe are an evil relative of the magpie. They are a survival from the Second Age and came from the blighted Lands of Moragoth. They are rapacious, cunning and without mercy. We have to guard the chickens while they are feeding to insure that they are not mobbed away by crowds of the wretched things.
    WE had a fabulous Solstice. I organized a Family Gathering at the Mudbrick with traditional games, music, food and fire. About 50 kids showed up with their mums and dads. A really great night.
    When are you coming down our way – the fishing has been great,?
    Happy Sunreturn.
    to You and Cath.

  3. Donald, good to hear from you. I’ve been pestering people about a mass invasion (Miss Glenda, Karlos, Casey-Coelhos) of Mallacoota. Natalie wants to come for John Lennon’s birthday, but will settle for yours! Tim has a new boat and so we’re dying to come and try it out.

    Some say the Currawongs are supposed to be stupider than their cousins; that would imply talking to them the way I do with magpies is pointless. Still, you might try it, because others say they’re intelligent too.

  4. Dear Paul and all,
    Happy sunreturn – I long for the heat and am leaving these frozen shores next Wednesday for a few weeks to get a bit of sun and humidity in Timor – back July 21… Working may also be involved.
    A mess invasion (Pak Paul, Karlos, Casey-Coelhos) to Mallacoota would be fab! You know how I love birthdays… Being together again with all the days and bumps and turnings that have passed over the years – it is time!
    Why does magpie song make me so happy?


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