Wednesday, June 18, 2014


The following poem was shortlisted for the next issue of Plumwood Mountain. Sooty Owls are one of the Australian birds that most impress me. Charcoal-grey with white spots, they favour valleys sporting dense eucalypt woodlands, are rarely seen, offer up falling bomb calls and shifting trills, possess massive dark eyes and intimidating talons. Not a bird you'd want to piss off. The first Sooty I ever saw was in the Devils Coach House at Jenolan Caves, one of the most sublime/gothic places in NSW. The poem here is factual and from an experience in 2012. I dedicate it to an old mate who's a fine birder.

For Steve Edwards

As you had never met
a Sooty Owl before,

I guided us to Kioloa's
thinning upland reaches

fifteen minutes after
the horizon gulped daylight,

targeted a knotted gully, cast
a long line of Sooty-mimicry

into bleeding emerald gloom
for ten shivery minutes,

slowly reeled in everything
you depended upon.

LJ, June 19 2014.

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