A boardwalk of recycled rubber softens our steps;
the nearby heron doesn’t fly away, but lowers its leg
into the pond the way a scribe might load a brush with ink
pondering a new script. Melaleucas with their tattered,
layered bark seem a subculture of botanical grunge—
especially near the tailored limbs of the salmon gums.
A Brahminy kite is riding a carousel of air, its white
collar and chestnut wings a prototype of the aviator jacket.
Crabs tuck into the mud, but as we pass they stop—
then slip laterally, quick as hands playing prestissimo
passages from Liszt. The kite shifts from a thermal
onto a branch where a kingfisher preens its wings;
a brush turkey loudly rakes a snuff of rank leaves,
a yellow wattle dangling from its neck like the limp rubber
of a burst balloon. Now the kingfisher shallow-dives
into a cluster of pond skippers. An egret, watching,
takes up a ready stride, then with a captious gesture
of its neck, stabs fast at the water, leaving a feather
floating with the easy buoyancy of a half-quarter moon.
Judith Beveridge is the author of seven collections of poetry. Her new and selected poems, Sun Music, was published in 2018. She was poetry editor for Meanjin during 2005-15.