Well above the boulder-lined mountain creek,
the tangled profusion of vine and tree,
the spreading glory of strangler fig,
the remnant cedar’s towering beauty,
where the mountain steeply slopes,
where filtered sun casts a dappled light
where tall trees grow from leaf-littered ground,
stop for a moment in hushed delight.
Two young lyre birds cavort and display,
practising for some more urgent time
their dance, spread of tail and joy of song
with beauty far beyond the power of rhyme.
Their tail is two curves of yellow and black,
enclosing silver gossamer wisp
as delicately coloured as dew-filled web
or wind-blown sea mist.
This glory they arch over their backs,
graceful, delicate, surprising long,
then dancing a quick, little, staccato bob
pour from their throat liquid miracle of song.
Mimicry of diverse forest sounds
in effortless beauty from their throat pours-
kookaburra’s laugh, whip bird’s soar and crack,
king parrot, rosella and many unknown more.
Hush! The vault is blue, white and green,
there are ethereal slants of light,
great supporting buttress columns of trees,
and a choir praising in unrestrained delight.
Walk quietly away from this pure moment.
What you have seen is sublime.
Your heart is full of gratitude.
You sense a glimpse into the divine,
For on that on that mountainside
with effortless grace these small birds raise,
without tuition or much thumbed page,
their hymn of beauty and praise.
By Neil Creighton
Neil Creighton is an Australian poet whose work as a teacher of English and Drama brought him into close contact with thousands of young lives, most happy and triumphant but too many tragically filled with neglect. It also made him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned and his work reflects strong interest in social justice. Recent publications include Poetry Quarterly, Poeming Pigeon, Silver Birch Press, Rat’s Ass Review, Praxis Mag Online, Ekphrastic Review, Social Justice Poetry and Verse-Virtual. He blogs at windofflowers.blogspot.com.au
Watch and Listen on YouTube: Sounds From The Lyre Bird – David Attenborough – BBC Wildlife
Photo by Susan Flashman