Celebration of the Birds

Winner - 2023 Rabindranath Tagore International Poetry Award

Judges -
Nina Alsirtawi Bengazi (Libya), Parashuramrao Gande (India), Margaret Manning (Ireland)
Founder and Chief Editor -
Gopakumar Radhakrishnan (India)

Australia is blessed with an abundance of unique native birds. Each morning their joyful feathered chorus awakens me to face the day. I marvel at their diversity and resilience - and in a world increasingly beset by challenges, I am uplifted by their celebration of beautiful music.

Celebration of the Birds
(c) Shelley Hansen 2022

In the light of early morning I awake to songbirds calling
as they herald forth their happiness to usher in the day.
Rosy rays are painting blushes on the sky with artist brushes
as the feathered chorus lifts its voice from near and far away.

First the kookaburra's laughter tells of "happy ever after"
as he commentates from vantage points atop the tallest trees.
Then the black crow starts debating the opposing view, relating
mournful moments pitched to baritone that waft along the breeze.

Rising sunlight marks the setting for the butcher birds' duetting
as they blend in perfect harmony with finely crafted phrase,
while the cockatoos are walking pigeon-toed, and loudly squawking,
finding waving summer grasses sprouting seeds on which they graze.

Magpies stride the ground intently, ever watchful, trilling gently
lest their sound disturb the movement of a juicy breakfast grub.
Noisy miners chirp and babble as they splash and dive and dabble
in the birdbath where they jostle for their moment in the tub.

Birds are always there – unchanging, versatile and rearranging
as they cope with turning seasons – bitter cold and searing heat –
and the lesson they are teaching seems eternal, ever-reaching –
that I need to stop and listen to life's celebration suite.

So when stresses leave me daunted, and when dismal days are haunted
by this world's misinformation in a plethora of words,
I will close my ears to chatter – find the songs that truly matter
as I join the celebration of our splendid native birds!

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