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From: Vol.03 N.01 – How Humans Engage with Earth

Black-eared cuckoo

by 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.

Published: January 2016
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.

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.