Bees and birds
Bees are the most invaluable species on this planet … If the bees were to disappear today, humans would follow suit very soon.
– Earthwatch Institute
It was when the humming grew so loud
that children covered their ears
and dogs tried to creep into the moon,
when yellow mist clogged our machines
and the weight of hives brought ceilings down,
that we knew the revolution had come.
They repurposed the feckless into workers,
taught us the dance that knits air to petal
and the unselfish sting.
At first clumsy, after years of practice
we too could float from style to stamen,
giddy with greens and ultraviolet,
in the companionship of dragonflies
we marched from marigold
to mulberry, to fig and orchard apple
around which no fence was too tall.
There must be some things we miss
from the old life in cold brick hives,
but we no longer remember.
Our heads are perfumed with garden maps,
wattle season, glory of compound eyes
and intoxication of the swarm,
the sun-swollen gynoecium
that centres every flowering plant.
This is the ecstasy of all shapeshifters,
the pollen and sap of becoming,
our late-budding adaptation
to finally belong.
Birds Increase Human Happiness,
If you feel the urge to question this science
you have not heard of the man sitting in his ute
at the fag end of a bush track
with the weight of a rifle on his lap
who was distracted by two silvereyes
chasing each other through undergrowth
and turned the key again with the dangling letter A.
You have not seen bee-eaters burst
from a muddy burrow,
or heard butcherbirds in antiphonal light
so that for a while you forget
about stage four ovarian cancer.
You are not the mediaeval wanderer
who survived winter
under a Doona swarm of swallows.
Nor are you the researcher at Kiel University
who discovered that unhappiness correlates
to a decline in avian diversity.
You could be that Lycra guy in the coffee shop who said
why don’t they discover something serious.
Letters & Editorial