Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Parrot (September)

September descends to the decking. Alisterus scapularis doesn’t give a whistle for Latin, a carrak-carrak for name-calling. Humans are where they can raid fruit, whisk off with seed as they please. Humans sit over steaming teacups arguing colour. Daughter says King Parrots are red, Father orange, the bird book scarlet. Mother eye-rolls. They gather in small flocks, like the tea-drinkers. They hang about in flowering gumtrees, so their bodies are green leaves and their heads are gum flowers, red, orange, and scarlet. Their crescents and stripes of green help them disappear. Humans plan outings, tea turns lukewarm, parrots turn tail.

Wattlebird (September)

September pollinates business-like, post-bushfire. Morning above the big ocean wattlebirds arrive in the banksias. One pendulums on topmost, finding its beak in every nook and bristle of a wiry cone. Wind helps the effect. Bird picks and chooses each flower in loopy fashion, leaping about towers of branches. Upsidedown the other threads fibres, shifts sideways lithe grey, an acrobat about the sun. Artists have the devil of a time perfecting evolution’s simple balancing act, plodding watercolour and words. Already morning fills with sounds of ocean and greatest hits radio at a new construction site and the cackles of departing wattlebirds.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Monosyllable (September)

September is not altogether an English gentleman. “The more monosyllables that you use, the truer Englishman you shall seeme, and the lesse you shall smell of the Inkhorne,” extols Gascoigne (1575). Berryman thinks Shakespeare “very fond of monosyllables,” that “about one-tenth” of lines in the sonnets are entirely monosyllabic, a cause for “the poet’s blunt force.” We were taught the same at the polysyllabic university, by inkhorn academics whose jargon could outmanoeuvre entire oeuvres. We smiled at Rabelais’ monks conversing in one-word dialogues, obedient to Our Lord’s command to say just yes or no. Shakespeare worked with whatever words worked.