Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Kookaburra by Melinda Jane – The Poet Mj

A man kills a snake with a shovel
A kookaburra flies with a snake
in its beak, whacks it against a stump
swallows it.
Which of these impress?

Is it the laughter that stops me
in my tracks
or that shapely beak?

I can’t find out why they laugh at dusk
their eerie echo sounds out.

Their regal turn
stare through one eye
profile like a model
on a catwalk.

A Kingfisher bird
not thought of
as an omen of death
like Raven.

Wiradhuri say “Gugubarra”
we say “Kookaburra”
stolen from their Aboriginal language
but now this utterance is
held precious on Australians’ tongues.

The females larger
vice versa for the human species.

Laughing establishes territory
amongst family groups
like barking dogs
house alarms
establishes our family mark.

Men At Work got sued by Larrikin Music
alleging the flute riff in “Down Under” copied
the children’s tune “Kookaburra”.

October / November is breeding season
some say the male does
others say the female
offers their catch
before they mate.

Mirth gathers as they laugh
mirth like children skipping rope.

I’m not sure
they like us
gawking at them.

Not a bird of elegies
a symbol of joy
over our mishaps.

Melinda Jane – The Poet Mj is a writer of published children’s books, poetry, and song lyrics. She lives in a wonderland under the southern cross and gum trees of an Island that floats down under that some call Australia—a place which gives space within and upon this wide brown land of floods, droughts, fires and beasts that hop, a must here as many stand on one leg. Mj performs the spoken word at Fringes, Festivals, Art Galleries, and small gatherings.

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