The king parrots have returned to the Blue Mountains, working their way through trees bearing fruit. Recently I arrived home to find half a dozen of them picking off the small fruit on a plum tree. They are bold in colour and temperament, and are charming despite the destruction. This poem expresses what it is like to have a visitation.
That’s all I am allowed to know.
Four, no six, they have materialised
trembling on the Mexican Hawthorn
as though the tree had just devised them,
six startling orchids,
or six jocund rascals, outrageous
in their green or crimson balaclavas
and crimson pantaloons,
tucking away their conifer wings,
eating with greedy disdain
like babies or commit strip bandidos.
My lawn is rubbished with half-eaten crimson berries.
Vandals. Solferino angels:
how can my eye stray while they remian
in creaturely candelabra
on a sky of nursery blue.
It’s like a siege.
One cocks its head, as though to say,
‘Don’t worry. We are too brilliant to be real,’
then goes on eating from my tree.
They’re gone. The branch skitters into stillness.
And I could spend a year behind this glass
longing for their return.
Female Australian king parrot
[Header photo: male king parrot about to take off with some fruit]