Two bird poems from Brian Turner


Birds Bathing


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.



No Flurries


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

require gratitude.

When you understand

that it settles you

down. No flurries.


©Brian Turner


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.

1 thought on “Two bird poems from Brian Turner

  1. Pingback: Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Take time out with poets honoured today | NZ Poetry Shelf

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