Poetry

Birds Bathing

The bird-bath on our balcony

has many visitors.

Two floors up at tree-top level,

discreetly screened by potted shrubs

and safe from predators,

it seems as if the birds have found

a sort of Baden-Baden

where they can drink and bathe.

Noisy miners wing in

usually in pairs, nervous

in their attitude to getting wet.

In they hop for a second,

then as quickly out,

with finicky flapping

to dry themselves

before they plunge again—

a performance they repeat

as often as thirteen times.

Different the solitary currawong.

He comes first for a drink.

A slow sip, then his yellow eyes

are skyward, lost in some reflection.

Now and then, although too big,

he takes a bath and a tidal wave

slaps over the rim,

sloshing the balcony floor.

Before the lorikeets venture our resort

they socialise in the trees, colours

bouncing in leafage as they maintain

a non-stop conversation. Bathing together

they wallow, water up to their necks,

so their olive greens and yellows, scarlets

and ultramarines seem freshly painted,

shining, dripping wet.

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