Wake up    wake up    wake up . . .
Winter mornings muster this piebald flock.
Their calls drop dollops of sun
through the dappled gums. Into the great
glass bowl of the morning,
melting like ice-cubes their voices
slippery-whip, sparklingly lassooing the last
dark shadows still stiff with frost.

Later, in the garden, gold-eyed, they open
black umbrellas between me and winter sky.
The world eases over us its slow, blue sigh.
While the birds swoop to earth,
slipping down their throats warm honey,
I would like to drowse within this day
as if it were a hammock slooped between
yesterday’s lemon-scented trunks of light
and tomorrow’s eucalyptus sideroxylons,
dark-grooved but still freeing from duncecaps
a kindergarten of fluorescent pink.
Under a mauve wattle weighed down
with its pointillist present of buds,
instead I kneel in the scent of earth.

Hot light stills my wet head, my helmet
of freshly Sunsilked hair.
Closing my hands around a weed, I hear
something alive in a shaded bath –
a rattle of wings against terracotta –
a huge sound like breathing
through pottery bells. Air spins up from earth –
and rinses clear. Down on my knees,
lifting a lei of errant vetch from a freesia’s

bowed head – wake up wake up wake up
I hear this high, sharp ringing, rippling
like perfumes of flowers which must come here,
later, hula-hooping me with hope,
as the invisible bird shudders the heavy tree
and showers over me its sleeping gold.

(from Practising Breathing 1991)


JK Currawongs