Theoretically at work, I have slacked off
to do my duty, noting the antic motions of the Topknot Pigeons,
the Catbird’s tinking,
and the Carabeens with their lofty wooden sails,
and capturing for the nth time
the cowled flowers of the sweet-smelling Cunjevoi
in artless photos that will die with my hard drive,
never to see the light of day, but which I take
anyway, just for the gesture.
Through the deep mysterious forest
tourists are charging like steam-trains,
trailing puffs of deodorant and conversationally
yelling at the tops of their voices. Though they do not see
me, lurking in the shadow of a plank buttress,
or the million year old beings quietly eating lunch, we are all of us
engaged on the same project, our one duty to worship
the life we didn’t ask for or deserve.
Brian Hawkins is a poet and ecologist who was until recently based in the mountains of northern New South Wales. He now lives in Canberra, where he helps organise biodiversity surveys around Australia.