Friday, 23 November 2007

The Turn of the Terns


Barbara's book 'Kairos' arrived the other day. I am waiting for a day when I can devote time to truly savour the poetry in it. (Of course I couldn't resist a sneak preview, so I have already enjoyed reading some of the poems.) From the deftly woven, strong poems I have read so far, reading the whole book is going to prove to be a very satisfying experience.
***
Today I saw some Caspian terns plunging into the water. They are the birds featured in the photo below, which I took a while back.

Terns

Over the inlet, they busy themselves;
with skipping-rope wings,

then with the weight of stones, drop
into the water and as swiftly

back up again; a reverse catapault;
to continue undamaged,

nonchalant circling. It's the red krill
they're after. In the air, the small

from flowering flax; dark malt.

***

This poem of mine was accepted, along with another one, for publication in the Sydney University English Department magazine 'Southerly', in 2005.
It is about seeing these Caspian terns en masse one day feeding on krill in the inlet. They are way-cool birds. I especially love their little black, Batman masks. And the way they dive straight down into the water, without a splash - just like svelte, Olympic high-board divers.
***

9 comments:

Shameless said...

You capture the simplest of things so magically, CB!: :o)

Marie said...

I too adore this little birds, with their amazing kamikaze-style skydiving prowress. They are such accomplished fishermen, too. And you have captured their essence to a T!

64 Baker Street said...

I feel like I can see the birds in action in your poem even though I have never seen them in person!

Catherine said...

A lovely poem - I wondered what "Southerly" was, having seen it in people's bios, and now I know

kj said...

nonchalant circling.

that's what i want to do, chief.

thanks for the clarity.

:)

paris parfait said...

Very cool birds and very cool poem. And how lovely to have a new book of poetry to savour.

chiefbiscuit said...

shameless - Such encouragement goes a long way - so thanks so much.

marie - Aren't they super-duper little birds?

64 B - I appreciate your encouragement, thanks. Isn't it great how we can share the flavour of 'our place' to those on the other side of the world? You do that for me as well.

catherine - Happy to elucidate ... and thanks for complimentary comment.

kj - you and me both ... :)

pp - Merci beaucoup. I am getting more and more enthusiastic about this book :)

chiefbiscuit said...

PP - What I meant, of course, was my book on birds - am already enthusiastic about Barbara's book!

Wayne said...

Gives new meaning to "pictures by alphabet". Lovely.

Harbour

Harbour
'how this all harbours light'