Martin Chambers

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Birds are stupid

In the park opposite my house,
raucous white corellas found noisy amusement
on the new tin roof of the pavilion
they pulled each nail
so that in the sea breeze later the sheets might fly
as the shiny feathers from the moult of some sick monster.
As an aside, two weeks ago
I went to the opening of the pavilion.
The architect made a speech,
about how he took inspiration from nature,
how he designed to the shape and form of birds and trees.
'Sick monster’ might have been the words
one neighbor used to describe the building.
Or the architect come to think of it.
But today the building was more popular
although I don’t think it was for art or style
that these birds were systematic.
As each one pulled a nail, I could read its thoughts
‘no food this time, but I’ll find it yet’,
and then it would fix me with a malevolent glare.
They would have pulled the lot had not the curator arrived
and with the athletics starting gun, thus startled,
the corellas flew to the laughing west
‘Birds are so stupid,’ he said to me.
‘Yesterday a fleet of red tailed blacks
landed in the redgums and dropped a rain of nuts,
so on the oval below school sport was abandoned,
until I could rake the field.
They only eat one thing, you know, and now they are endangered.’
Then he repeated,
‘Birds are just so stupid.’
On the six o’clock news tonight,
that time when the world stops events to list them,
I was thinking of the curator and his ‘birds are just so stupid’
for there was an article about a windfarm ban,
how endangered birds might fly into the great white arc of blades
and die on the field below, and I was imagining
the feathery litter and how to rake it clean,
and that perhaps survival of the fittest,
might be of the more intelligent.
I would have thought some more on that,
of survival and intelligence, of humans and of birds,
but the newsreader told me,
electricity prices to rise by ten percent