Monday, May 31, 2004

There is a kookaburra perched on the pool fence. Crapping, scratching itself, rubbing its beak against the metal. A foot high from tip of tail to top of head. Occasionally it dives down to snatch an insect off the surface of the water or have a drink & then returns to the railings.

It is a blue-winged kookaburra. Unlike its slightly larger cousin it does not laugh. Tries to, but then breaks off into a fit of coughing, much like I do after fifty years of smoking.

The two varieties have different ranges in Australia, but they overlap here in Queensland. I have seen them side by side – yes, on that branch – the one laughing at the other because it / cannot laugh.

It has a kingfisher shape. Looks like a large kingfisher. Adopts the same stance. Is the largest of the kingfisher family. Though somehow I do not think Charles Olson's poem would have had quite the same impact if it had have been called "The Kookaburras".....

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