The Parakeet - Keith Sinclair
Shadows of bars suggest perhaps,
If memory slumbers behind
Those jeweled eyes, eucalypts
Festooned with bark strips, ribboned
With light. But his scream echoes
From farther than Bimberi Peak
Before a word of thought arose
To sing or check the slash of beak.
Clapper in a wire bell, voice
Of a demon in a nun’s dream,
Chiming, enticing, then raucous
With a mad, a mindless glee;
His glaze was baked in a volcanic kiln.
Was his the first loudness to rage
Glittering over a slow, reptilian
Earth? Anachronism caged
He sits, a focus of unease –
As though, a sailor’s pet, he might
Spout blasphemies to greet the visitors.
Perhaps (his own augur) it is not the light
Of past that keeps him spry: he wakes
Us to an instant’s fear that this
May be the sunrise he awaits,
His inheritance of flame, a citrus
Strip in smoking morning, wing-slashed,
And Sydney a screeching desert.
O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.