Saturday, July 04, 2015

Magpies - a poem

Today I have been pottering around and painting things green. I bought a pot of green paint when I was leave and turned it into chalk paint, and if I don't get to the end of the tin soon everything that's not moving might end up green. But I will show those things when I have restored order, as in the process of pulling everything out of things to be painted I have made a huge mess, not to mention the mess in the kitchen from the actual painting. (I have discovered the secret of getting things done — it is to just dive in and do it at any old time the fancy takes you, make whatever huge mess is necessary in the process, be done with it, then clean up afterwards.)

But it is time for a poem. I have a friend who is teaching her children to recite poetry (I love that) and the other evening during dinner her nine-year-old recited Magpies, by Judith Wright. The magpies where I live are very "friendly". I suspect someone was or is feeding them, as they swoop in whenever I am outside, with those greedy eyes described. But is is true that few others can rival their song. There is one warbling out my window in the dying sun right this minute. (And these are a few phone snaps I took today as they followed me up the path from the shops with bold intensity, because I was eating something, and sat about on my back fence, before flying off to sing on the neighbour's aerial.)


Along the road the magpies walk
with hands in pockets, left and right.
They tilt their heads, and stroll and talk.
In their well-fitted black and white

they look like certain gentlemen
who seem most nonchalant and wise
until their meal is served—and then
what clashing beaks, what greedy eyes!

But not one man that I have heard
throws back his head in such a song
of grace and praise—no man nor bird.
Their greed is brief; their joy is long.
For each is born with such a throat
as thanks his God with every note.

Judith Wright


Cath said...

Here's another Ali - I love this one. Magpies are worthy of poetry!

Ali said...

Thanks Cath! Though I prefer Judith Wright on Magpies myself. They are worthy of poetry!