APAD 20: Blackbuck

A herd of pale fawn females
melt into the banks of the dam
light and lithe they are discarded
grass, breeze-lifted
lighter than the black-backed
un-barley-twist-horned males
they are vulnerable
at the first breath of danger
they flee into the shallows
where crocodiles wallow

APAD 19: Migration

Load up the ship boys
load her to the top
she’ll roll away the miles boys
across the wide blue sea
Jeannie Johnston leaves Quebec
lumbered to the gills
her sails are set a-flapping
her deck it is a-creaking
Mind you watch the sails boys
keep them trim and tied
she’ll roll away the miles boys
across the wide blue sea
Winds will switch and stop
winds will swell and blow
the sea will roil and boil
despite the burning cold
Keep your fingers safe boys
blue-ice though they be
she’ll see you to safe dock boys
across the wide blue sea
In an Irish river town
her load will swing ashore
long straight logs to barges
bound for mills upstream
Empty up the ship boys
empty all you can
for we’ve another load boys
to cross the wide blue sea
This time the load is Irishers
carrying all they own
nothing left to keep them here
famine has stripped it all

Load up the ship boys
with Irish refugees
keep the ship a-steady boys
across the wide blue sea
A new life can begin now
the dreams of sunshine lives
where Irish worth grows well
beyond back-load for a boat

The Irish are the ballast boys
on every voyage out
they earn their keep twice over boys
they keep the ship afloat

APAD 18: On the Savannah

On the Savannah
In our three-carriage, open-sided, camouflage-painted safari bus
we speculate that it must seem to the rhinoceros
that is feeding time at the zoo
cartloads of fresh meat, still warm
he spots us
conversation stills
until someone remembers that rhinos
big and strong and horned as they are
are herbivores
cameras snap
normal breathing resumes
but no one will forget
that moment the rhino saw us

APAD 15: Pelican Landing

Pelican Landing
Like a plane you glide
(really … it’s the plane that’s like you)
impossible sights – both
too big to stay airborne
broad wings stretch wide
apparently still
you bank steeply over the shallows
clear your swimway
check wind direction
adjust your approach
lower landing gear
gentle onto the sea

APAD 13: Balloons

Image result for balloons 
Once, we blew up, tied, stringed and hung
hundreds for a party.
Once, we wished a big bunch
would lift and carry us away.
Once, a helium parrot
hovered on our ceiling
until it deflated
and took to following us
around the room
and sitting on our shoulders.
Once, backyard warfare
exploded from tiny balls
Once, hundreds of pink ones
said farewell to a tiny lost girl.
Once, we didn’t know the journey
or the cost
of our discarded colour scraps.

APAD 12: One (Or More) For The Birds

One (Or More) For The Birds
There’s an apricot tree in a front yard
better be quick
there are only a few fruit left
and they will be gone tomorrow
It’s rubbish day and up and down the street
all the bins are out   
some display their contents
for sharp-beaked dumpster-divers
In the vegie garden
beneath the pumpkin canopy
in the basil light fat grubs munch
much faster than they can run