High on the Gloucester road
just before it wriggles its hips
level with eagles down the gorge
into the coastal hills
there were five beige pea-chickens
sloping under the farm fence
in a nervous unison of head-tufts
up to the garden where they lived
then along the gutter and bank
adult birds, grazing in full serpent.
Their colours are too saturate and cool
to see at first with dryland eyes
trained to drab and ginger. No one here
believes in green deeply enough. In greens
so blue, so malachite. Animal cobalt too
and arrow bustles, those are unparalleled.
The wail lingers, and their cane
surrection of iridium plaques. Great spirits,
Hindoostan in the palette of New Zealand!
They don't succeed at feral.
Things rush them from dry grass.
Haggard teeth climb to them. World birds,
human birds, flown by their own volition
they led us to palaces.
The Biplane Houses
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Daily Poem final update: 35 votes have now been cast, and one poem is sustaining its lead, but it is not so far ahead that your vote might not make a difference. The most recent vote was cast for the last remaining poem that had not received any votes, so now all 12 poems have at least one vote (and only three have received only one).