A friend reports watching ‘a conflagration
of birds feasting, fighting and bathing
in their personal lake.’ And I’m eyeing
my blackbirds, fussy frenzied delinquents
flinging food scraps from the compost heap,
a speckle of sparrows pecking seeds
and my ginger and white long-haired puss
sleeping under the scruffy hedge. All
are oblivious of a continuation of clouds
and showery spasms of rain slowly descending.
Each morning I put out
more sugared water,
bird seed and dripping,
so much in abundance
that in their darting
antic fluttering flurry
they’ve little if any
interest in me. So
it’s good to be able
to provide and not
When you understand
that it settles you
down. No flurries.
Brian Turner is best-known for his poetry and numerous books of non-fiction. He was the Te Mata Estate NZ Poet Laureate 2003-05. Turner won the 1978 Commonwealth Poetry Prize and the 1993 New Zealand Book Award for Poetry for his collection Beyond. In 1994-5 he held an Arts Council Scholarship in Letters. He was Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago in 1984 and Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury in 1997. He was the Te Mata Estate NZ Poet Laureate 2003-05.
In 2009 he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry. He lives down south, in Central Otago’s quirky small town of Oturehua.