Ardeotis australis ## 1 & 2 — The Australian Bustard

Kristin Hannaford

 

# 1

 

You have been here before. Observer of light,

you know cycles of bust and boom as grasshopper

plague; a twig-like season of woody legs and nutty interior

before the dust eddies of drought. Tracker of rain, of fire,

we find you walking scorched inky floors of dirt, shucking

new shoots and venturesome lizards at the restaurant of the bold,

remembering days when you too were in the pot. A bird of few

words, you prefer to scrutinize, study the day’s narrative,

make quiet retreat. Unless, of course, you’re headed

to the lek – to shake, sing, and perform your ‘boom boom

baby let’s go back to my room’ inflated throat sac of song.

You know how to unshackle that uptight cool.

After the party’s always the same.  You head out to the road,

inhale the emptiness. Curious to see the oncoming traffic.

 

 

# 2

 

if passage were a ribbon   this bird has thread

a slow plains undulation         itinerant pathways

of distance      scientists observe        disturbance

‘a declining trend’     the fine graphite sketch mark

vermiculate plumage               tracking a down turn  and irregular

seasons     lessening dots on the map              more scatter

than graph   his guttural lovesong       sounding wired

frequencies    binding              the bustard wandering

shagpiles of tussock    its crop full      two beetles

small lizards    seeds of grass                          and a rumour of opals

a survey of desert uplands      this morning’s design

 

Bustard

 Image: Alison Clouston, “Australian Bustard on the Road to Bimblebox,” 2014

Digital print and block print on cotton rag paper,  29.7 x 21 cm, titled, signed and dated on reverse side, edition of 6
Photo by the artist © Alison Clouston, 2014

Chorus 32:
Jim Moginie, Peter Dasent, Paul Cutlan, Gregory McKlaren, Kelly Keating, Bonnie Hart, Louise Nutting, David George
Composition by Boyd

 
 

Kristin Hannaford’s poems surface in a range of Australian and International literary journals, and as Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service signage. Kristin’s latest collection, Curio (Walleah Press 2014), invites readers into the world of taxidermists Jane Tost and Ada Rohu — a world of artefacts, curiosities and natural history specimens.

Alison Clouston is a visual artist and Boyd is a musician, composer and sound artist. They have collaborated over many years on artistic projects to examine the place of humans in relation to the rest of nature. http://burragorang.org/index.php

 

The poems, image and chorus 32 (above) in response to the Australian Bustard are part of the Bimblebox 153 Birds project.

Bimblebox 153 Birds is a creative exploration of the bird species that inhabit the Bimblebox Nature Refuge.  With spoken word, music and fine art prints, 153 artists, 153 writers and 153 musicians engage with the bird species that make this habitat their home — a habitat that is currently under threat from coal mining. http://www.bimbleboxartproject.com
facebook:  Bimblebox 153 Birds

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  1. Bimblebox 153 Birds @ Brisbane Writers Festival 2 – 6 September! | Bimblebox Art Project

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