Upside-down for a Bat is right way up.
They’re like me – different, but made with the

right stuff to be who they are.
We’re upside-down people

~ Sara Kianga Bat ~

Pied Butcherbird Affinity

*Photo by Geoff Dennis.

Last night, I couldn’t…

Find my voice.

Failure to con-nect
Came up from within
To choke speech
Into silent scream.

Animal me wanted
To run into the wet fields
Of lamentation,
Howling and growling
Grief for the worlds
To which I feel no belonging.
Instead, sleep descended
Down here, deep
Into the Underworld nest –
Raven’s crows nest –
Where pirate witches
Keep watch for
Mugwort induced dreams.

But waking, I encountered
An encountering encounter
With a clever singer:
Pied Butcherbird,
Perched alone in the rain,
Practicing her songs.
Calling in no friend or ally,
Seeking no shelter from
The deluge of tears,
Butcherbird weaves this
Musical magic
Into my senses, reaching
With painted threads
Of colourful light
Into the dark whispers
Of my Underworld.

Pied Butcherbird –
Feathered being
Of black and white
Binaries challenged by
Entangling melodies –
Whose renowned voice
Sometimes needs practice…
Uncomfortable practice
On a lonely branch
With wet feathers
And chilled bones.
She has been here all day,
Down here in the dark
With me, all day…
Practising the songs
And discomforts of
Our voices, alone together.

Even the master singer
Because she doesn’t always
Get it right.
Mimicking the words
Of other bird folk,
Collaging her compositions
From shared wisdom
And secrets that
No one understands
All of the time –
Not even the most
Masterful songstress of all –
She sings together patterns
That only her eyes see
In this particular way.
Symphonic patterns
Of a virtuoso voice
That falls flat without
The accompaniment of rain
And raven and
Rhythmic heartbeat of
Ancestral bird song
Reaching up from shadows
To shimmering life.

Butcherbird greeted me
When I arrived
At these black gates.
Then, she was silent,
Considering the invitation to
Sing and share amidst shadows.
Descending from our perches,
We practised together
In wet feathers and all.
Now, Butcherbird sees me
As I see myself in her
Shining black eyes,
Wrapped in those
Entangled melodies
That sometimes need practise.
Together, we sing up a storm
In a spirit of hope from
The mini golf graveyard
Between us.


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