Black-eared cuckoo

Meera Atkinson


Mournful in the mulga and mallee, long-noted

longing, then a skip of hot jazz through the Galilee


Terrestrial presence, not hiding, not seen

the woodland becomes its own language


olive-bronze, metallic sheen, cream buff-bellied,

eyes tiny coins of ebony, white brow and

the black



coal, night

that steals the domed nest


a planetarium, deep space

beneath which all life stirs (feathered, beaked)


where a dark egg is laid in the heart


This poem was written for Bimblebox 153 Birds, a creative exploration of the bird species that inhabit the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, currently under threat from coal mining.


Meera Atkinson is a Sydney-based writer, poet and scholar. Her work has appeared in over sixty publications, including Best Australian Stories 2007, Best Australian Poems 2010, and Griffith REVIEW. Meera has a PhD from the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University and is co-editor of Traumatic Affect (2013), an international volume of academic essays exploring the nexus of trauma and affect.

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