into that gyre
thermals in the
wider & higher,
it’s a falcon.
* * *
Tawny Frogmouth is not the name of a porn star
I am not a camera adept. Would like to be—I like photographs, am enamored of the way the camera can snatch an instance, an instant of reality, & make it something more.
But not for me, as Ira Gershwin once wrote. I grew up in an age of box brownies. I didn’t own a camera for many subsequent decades—it would have been just one more thing to hock & never redeem—& now that I do, all I seem to manage are bad photos; out of focus, or the subject too distant, or, or, or…
So I don’t carry one around. & regret it sometimes. Like a couple of days ago, staying in North Queensland, about 700 kilometers further north from what we currently call home. Visiting friends down near the sea & driving back to where we were staying on a road that followed the right angles of the sugarcane fields, a night so warm that the windscreen of the car fogged over on the outside because of the temperature differential from an inside that had had the aircon on all day. Lights on high beam. & caught in them as we rounded — squared — a corner, a shape, rigid, that, as we got closer, turned out to be a tawny frogmouth, with its identifying funny bristles around the beak, refusing to move out of our way as it stood guard on the road over the corpse of a cane toad that had been squashed by an earlier car.
We stopped the car. I got out, tried to shoo it away. It still wouldn’t move, so after a minute or so I got back in & we drove around it very carefully. (& a couple of hundred meters up the road saw the shape of another night predator, this one a gray owl, diving after something at the edge of the cane.)
My bird book mentions this in passing. “Frogmouths often get killed on the roads as a result of their groundfeeding habits.” Hopefully this one survived the night.
* * *
just signing in
too struts the
the mango tree.
Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry since 1959. He’s the author of around fifty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages.
His 2019 poetry books are The Perfume of The Abyss from Moria Books; A Vicarious Life — the backing tracks from otata; taxonomic drift from Luna Bisonte Prods; & Residual sonnets from Ma Press of Finland.
featured photo courtesy of Queensland Museum