Tuesday, October 09, 2012

TUESDAY POEM - Celebration by Andrew Bell


                                    Kookaburras start every morning with laughter.
                                    Magpies are innately comic,
                                    strutting about in waistcoats
                                    like squires inspecting the estate.
                                    Twenty-eights are flying surprises,
                                    exploding from the trees like abstract art.
                                    Willy wagtails cavort to unheard rhythms.

                                    Up on the wire, a party of galahs
                                    mock stony-faced people in serious cars.
                                    Butcherbirds soft-shoe shuffle
                                    for an unappreciative audience
                                    of trouble-tranced commuters.
                                    Wattlebirds limber up their throats
                                    with unholy imitations of industrial noise.
                                    Robins interpret the sun in miniature.
                                    As I walk down to the dam,
                                    lemon and peppermint fragrances
                                    carry their aspirations on the rising dew.
                                    Herons go lazily aloft like paper kites
                                    while frogs taunt the swamp hens
                                    with marshland gossip.

                                    Surrounded by this joie de vivre
                                    I wonder why our desires are many

                                    when our needs are few.
                                    Have we lost our invitation
                                    to the celebration of the world?

                                    Andrew Bell

I wrote this poem several years ago when I lived on the eastern outskirts of Perth in a semi-rural area. I was always fascinated by how the Western Australian birds were different and yet bore many similarities to New Zealand birds. We have nothing quite so loud as a Kookaburra, but we have its smaller cousin, the Kingfisher. We have Magpies, but no parrots like the Twenty-eight, although we have Keas and other temperate-living parrots. And Willy-Wagtails are uncannily like a black-and-white version of our Fantail.

Anyway, I offer this poem as a Springtime rebuttal to all the gloomy stuff that flies around in the worldwide media like Syria, the Global Financial Crisis and a myriad other woes. Sometimes, we need to appreciate the intangible, the good and glorious things this Earth offers us." 


     Thank you, Andrew -

Flying Between Gloom & Glory - CB

For more Tuesday Poems, please click on the quill.

This week's editor on the TP hub is Wellington writer, Saradha Koirala
with just a point man in the ocean 


  1. You're right, Claire: this is a lovely poem and sometimes it is important to look up and see the stars -- and the birds! :)

    1. Hi Helen - a reminder to us all to keep wonder alive ; )

  2. Thanks, it is a lovely rebuttal for the woes of the media - and a beautiful celebration too. I'm not sure what it is about birds that makes them so special, but your poem really evoked that special something.

    1. Hello Alicia. These days I think we all dance (sometimes, it's more like making our dogged way) between malady and melody. Andrew's poem is a welcome antidote for the harsh realities of our time.
      Birds are definitely special - feathered messengers, it does us good to spend time in their company. . . ; )

  3. Thanks, Claire. What a beautiful piece of art is "Flying between Gloom and Glory". It's a fascinating collage of photographs and is that a charcoal drawing?

    1. Hi Andrew - thank YOU! I'm glad you approve of the image I chose to post with your poem; it is a collage, as you say, of photographs and yes, a charcoal bird. . . 'Celebration' prompted me to play around with the notion of 'flying between gloom and glory' - or, as I said to Alicia, between malady and melody. After a long period of stasis and stuck-ness in the studio, something is slowly starting to move. I'm curious to see where it may take me. Funny how everything is connected. One thing always leads to another, and often in an entirely unexpected way.

  4. I love this poem. Thank you. Australian birds are so uniquely Aussie! I was over 60 before an Aunty insisted I 'do Australia' with her. I'd been travelling further afield but had no great urge to visit Australia.. co close. It blew me away! Especially the birds. Those twenty-eights.. wearing football jerseys! Close neighbours but so different. Even their magpies are cockier than ours.

    1. I love this poem, too, Joan - am a complete softy for birds and for poems that look lovingly on them! There are lines and images here to covet -

      'butcherbirds soft-shoe shuffle'

      'robins interpret the sun in miniature'

      'herons go lazily aloft like paper kites'

      and as for 'the lemon and peppermint
      carrying their aspirations on the rising dew. . '


      Thanks for visiting ; )

  5. PS: I must stop using exclamation marks. I must stop using exclamation marks.

    1. Ha! Ha.

      Exclamation marks - they are like comical sentries, calling us at once to order and disorder.

      ; )

  6. I love all these birds -- so colourful and full of life. And I also love those lemon and peppermint fragrances so full of aspiration. That is a lovely detail.

    1. Hi Michelle - you are amazing the way you get around, esp. on our Poetry Tuesdays; always a treat to know you have been, thank you. I love all these birds, too. Their vivacity and perspicacity. . . (Can one say such a thing of birds? Why not? They are knowing creatures - )

      The lemon and peppermint line is one of my favourites, too. So lovely.

  7. Oh and I was delighted to come to this as two more of Andrew's poems are featured this week as well, at the Aotearoa Affair Blog Carnival: http://crossings2012.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/blog-carnival2/

  8. Yes - I saw Andrew's two fine poems on Carnival, too. The Christchurch one made me bring my hands together. A good poetry week for Ben Hur (and us by proxy) ; )

  9. I'm coming late to this poem, but must say that it was a complete delight on several levels — a treasure trove of bird names both unknown and utterly intriguing. And those last two lines: spot-on. Yes.

    And also, the synchronicity in that I just finished a dinner with my sons where one of the subjects
    of the conversation was the notion embodied in those last lines.

    What a marvelous universe we inhabit!

    Thanks to Claire, for posting, and for Andrew, for writing.

    1. Hi dear T - I tell my family, friends and self that 'late' is not a word I want to have in my dictionary ; ). We turn up when we do and as we can xo I love the way you speak of a 'treasure trove' of bird names.
      I think I might have said this to you on your blog (or FB?) that you are I are going through so many parallel processes right now - from deck-building to shoring up subsiding land and - in this instance - conversations with our children around the ethos Andrew captured in the last two lines of this poem.
      We do live in a marvelous universe - endlessly puzzling and fantastic.
      L, C xo