Sulphur-crested Cockatoos

Simon Patton




Disobey Cockatoodle-doo

― 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

and back.


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.

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