Stuart Cooke: Conversation with the Bird Man

1 October 2008

I came back telling them all about the landscape but he
he in particular said no I don't agree the air

is clearer the clouds more discernable but
the rosellas I cried they sung like madmen on high

speed dubbing I couldn't let it go that soft
sunlight those rivers and rain ripping up

country giving threads no one saw him take me
by the hand up through the bush he

and I together now on that windy ridge
we of the two polarities a man

and a child a weedy goanna torn from Virgil's
own mouth the watery eclogues surrounding

if I could describe it to you I would
he said if the words sung if my tongue

beheld structures if time and rock
and roll and its various slithers hadn't

overcome us the shredded minerals
and dusty heart of a land in waiting…

(                                                      )
you can't tell us about land he finally

held my head in his hands you can't
tell us about land when man

it's all flowing you can't tell us about land
as if it were the nascent god

of a hollow flower rising up unaware
always unaware of the potential to blossom.

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Stuart Cooke

About Stuart Cooke


Stuart Cooke's latest poetry collection is Opera (2016). His other books include George Dyuŋgayan's Bulu Line: a West Kimberley song cycle (2014), Speaking the Earth's Languages (2013) and Edge Music (2011). He lectures in creative writing and literary studies at Griffith University.

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