Projects: 2017 / 2016 / 2014 / 2013 / 2012

VRL Thonger

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I'll write a poem every day, might be tiny but it'll be complete.


As you saunter harmlessly

whistling down the driveway with the mail

the first of these guys will make a break

from the bushes and dash ahead

as if to say I'll be decoy! I'll lead

the predator away from y'all and put

my handsome neck on the line

veering left then right and back again

that small black feather-plume

dangling forward like a tiny idiot parasol

but the rest of them sending out warnings toots

and unseen clicks can't take the tension

and burst out of the next thicket:

extended family members, spouses, a dozen chicks

like stripy balls bouncing over potholes

through weedy verges and back into the middle

there's 30-plus now racing down the steepest slope

a birdbrained helter-skelter and you can't resist

breaking into a run in their wake and yelling

'McWhirter!' which is exactly their alarm call

to your ears at least and two more groups

burst onto the drive and form one giant party

at least 60 racing breakneck downhill so fast they've

elongated into the greyhounds of birdworld

their bodies inclined at impossible jaunty angles


and take off all at once in a single burst straight up

short serviceable wings giving a brief rocket roar

and like a single rippling organism giving one big flap the flock lifts off

and lands 50 metres further on – without further ado

the varied pootles, tweeps and burbles begin again

foraging recommences and the original runner

hops atop his favourite rock, opens his beak and your day is made.

Day 51 Quails

They make me laugh, California quails.