A gust of starlings dribbles
to a ping pong
They wadd-waddle along
and take off together,
like an umbrella opened in a hurry.
The lawn resembles a colander
and the sky
a scattering of poppy seeds.

ii The curled lip of our bird-bath
is worn thin with claw-cuts.
Each day: a wet, demented knit-a-thon
of single needles in descending size....
Wattlebirds wipe epaulettes
and lower the water for the lesser honeyeaters,
easing their click and cast-off.
Badges bob and dip. Fledgelings shuffle in a queue.
A wagtail crochets the air.

A tiny sampler
of delicate stitchery
hangs from a black tack
which flicks amongst the scale insects.
A kookaburra glides up
in flak jacket and baseball cap
to unpick the stitches.

You make of this what you can,
i.e. sport scrags the arts
and bags the loot.

A honeyeater hits a window,
lies upturned. We cradle it
and chirrup to the parents,
restive, near. Their baby squats
upon an open palm - head tilted
to assess us, calm.
The world this day's unfallen.
Life's no longer further on,
or next;
but now
and slow
and cradled in a choice
to either stay
or go.

More poetry by James Charlton

St Kilda Beach

Hobart 4 pm, mid-winter

Man with Pigs

High Country, Behind Hobart

The Man Who Gropeth Forever

Residual Limbs


Reviews of James Charlton's poetry

Anne Kellas, reviewing Luminous Bodies

David Kelly, reviewing So Much Light
       (and Stephen Edgar's History of the Day)