Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Do you have a subject that won't go away? Mine seems to be birds, in particular double-barred finches at the moment. Tiny little birds that I see in other people's gardens when I'm out walking. Recently I did see a pair very briefly in my garden and it felt like a gift or a blessing! I did a painting of them a couple of months ago.

By co-incidence I picked up a back copy of the journal Meanjin at a 2nd hand book shop and there's a poem about double-barred finches in it, by Martin Langford. (unfortunately I can't find a link to the poem) I've been working on my own poem in response and some sketchbook pages that I'm using as the design for a lino-cut.

This is my poem in progress so far - I'll be taking it away for reworking in a couple of weeks.


You might only see them as a movement
from the corner of your eye
you have to look in the right way, focus
on something small, like a thimble.

Pale faced with a dark bonnet
common, from the Kimberley's
to Groote Eylandt, from Darwin's suburbs
to Sydney's, an ornithologist might not
look twice.

I've seen them on neglected nature strips
taking off in a wave at my approach.
Today at the backdoor, I looked to
where the palm tree was cut down, now
perfectly overgrown.

There a pair of finches flit and perch
make the long grass bow, peck a seed
and flit again to the chain link fence
and go.

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