In Search Of The Kea


Where would we find him
on this wild west coast?

On the wind-flung beaches
among the broken forests’ bones
flood torn and flung down raging canyons
into the belly of the southern sea,
cast brittle and broken on the fierce coast,
white sand grain by flying grain
scouring white wood to dust?

Or in frozen scales of sun
where old Mount Cook
spreads his dead white wings,
loads the valleys with his ice-blue blood
and hard as carbon steel his sky-white teeth
beautifully crack and tear the ancient rock
disgorging from the glacier’s tunnel throat
giant ice cubes, within a lip’s lick
of the turquoise cocktail sea?

Or where the rusted ribs
of old gold-rush machines,
dredges and sluices in gouged pools
lurk in the shrouding fronds of returning bush,
a pirate land, its treasure now gone,
keeping a famous parrot safe,
bicoloured pennant flying the mast
of history’s sinking ship?

Or by the mirror lake
bright in the tall green trees
where the knife-leaved flax scythes
the water’s calm, a flash of yellow and green
where the sky is below and above
and a parrot needs to understand
which way up, which way down,
not to dance upon a cloud
and make a splash?

Or in the glandular rain forest
among tubular tangles
of mossed and fungid trees,
where glow worms glimmer at night
and water drips on sunny days,
and plants grow on plants grow on plants
tendrils of lacy parasites
cat’s-cradling the leaves?

Where would we find him
on this wild west coast?

Here on this rubbish dump
screeching in the trees that stride the trash,
bright green and yellow feathers tatty and forlorn.
Scruffy famous parrot of the south
Why? Why loiter here when you
have choice of all these pearls?
Unlike the starving children seen
picking at the rubbish around the world.


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