― Skipping song
They rip strips of sky starkly in two
with their rasping shriek, yet its depth —
for all their violence — is rendered
more subtly blue, offset spectacularly
by sulphur. A flock in a dead December paddock
Christmas-lights tree branches
with immaculate, ice-cream ikons.
They never like the seagull,
like the crow, like the sacred ibis
scavenge guttered cities. In a joyfully
vicious streak, they throw the still beauty
of haunting European and Asian poems
fatally off balance, avenging human nature,
the child-mind. They are: beautifully
undamaged by habit,
savage with wild-open living.
Their gently unbowed fierce Australian heads
gaze steadily at the sun
and other starlights, out of this world
Simon Patton translates Chinese literature. He lives with his partner, cat and Sealyham the Terrier near Chinaman Creek in Central Victoria. Recent work has appeared in Translation and Literature, the Rochford Street Review, Cordite, Asia Literary Review and the Sydney Review of Books.