Bird-song of Imminent Death

 
Small child with caged bird, sitting on rug with legs crossed, whole-length, full face, ca. 1880-ca. 1900. (www.slv.vic.gov.au)
Small child with caged bird, sitting on rug with legs crossed, whole-length, full face, ca. 1880-ca. 1900. (www.slv.vic.gov.au)

Death songs off the Logan Rd night;
            And on the news, Blackhawks falling over Afghanistan.
Muk-Muk; the death bird, aptly named by my Elders,
                                Because Muk-Muk only appears to those
                                           Who will soon be grieving.
Muk-Muk is as metronomically-challenged as the Curlew,
                                 Another death-threat-carrying kindred,
But on this particular night I clearly hear Muk-Muk’s cuckoo-like tome.
Muk-Muk is a ‘roadie’ on a blackened stage
                                 Testing sound equipment for a phantom audience.

Hoo-Hoo!
Hoo-Hoo!
Testing, 1, 2!
Testing, 1, 2!
Hoo-Hoo!
Hoo-Hoo!

Muk-Muk sings,
                         A ghecko chirps
                                                 And an ambulance siren wails!
Darkness comes to life, ironically, drowning out the death calls.

A light-rain then douses everything,
                       But soon, Muk-Muk begins his final encore.
I wander out onto the patio as my girlfriend sleeps,
                       I wonder of my Brother’s safety in Afghanistan?

The flight path culls short over the house,
                       And soon a storm of aluminium mullets, run a heavenly gutter,
The flight path is so close 
                       It seems I could catch the red-eye from Sydney
                                                                                           By just raising my hand.

Swing-low a freedom-bird for my Brother,
                                     And low-altitude traffic, to keep the death-bird at bay…

Bird-song of Imminent Death from Love Poems and Death Threats, which is extracted courtesy of University of Queensland Press.

Samuel Wagan Watson

Author: Samuel Wagan Watson

Samuel Wagan Watson is an award-winning raconteur from the south-side of Brisbane and comes from a family of accomplished writers and artists. He hails from an ancestry of Birri Gubba, Munanjali, Germanic and Gaelic peoples. Collected works of his poetry have achieved accolades, been translated into 8 languages, various musical compositions, film productions and public/visual art projects. He has been commissioned to write for government and corporate entities ranging from Brisbane City Council to the Japanese Aeronautical Exploration Agency.

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