The shag net

Hundreds of birds
fly fast and low
skimming over the water
wings waving like
flapping flags flying.
Suddenly the front line
slows and slips
into the water
diving question marks
as they curve and plunge
one row after another
the water swirls
and they surface again
one row after another.
The pelicans follow
dipping and scooping
with their pouchy beaks
deep down
as they lift their wings
clear of the water
to keep them dry.
The shags stand on the rocks
or the river wall
wings outstretched to dry.
The pelicans rest beside the river
rows of oval shapes
pouchy beaks tucked in
under large white wings.

Copyright Sandra Roe

The view of Forrestdale Lake from the boardwalk

The path came through fringing paperbarks
over squelchy ground
too boggy and wet to walk on.
A band of rushes
light straw colour
an exotic weed
infests the circle edge.
A strand of blue water
reflects the sky.
Distance hazes the view.
On what appears to be a sand bar
in the centre
stands a line of black swans
around forty or fifty of them
familiar shapes
beloved black density
shimmering in early spring light
some standing still
others flashing white under wings.
Another blue line
behind the sandy shallows
leads to the band of trees
on the other side
and the wide blue sky.

Black Swans

early morning
I see them
bold black on sunfrost grass
long necks stretch
swing around
gentle construction cranes
gather sticks grass
plastic bits
nest and
eggs laid
take turns feeding brooding
beak opens for cooling
wings umbrella raised
shielding hatching
cygnets floating
between proud parents
feeding learning
growing quickly
running along feeling wings
lift off into lake
soar over river

Copyright Sandra Roe

Willy Wagtail

Little legs moving
on pool’s edge
back and forth
dipping his feet
for a moment
dip then scamper
sip then scamper
he glints his eyes at me
suddenly a different turn
he races to the water’s edge
throws himself in
not right in
just the very top
his tiny black wings
fluff the water up
and underneath
his white chest
sparkling droplets
he retreats
two seconds
and alights
on the surface again
and after his splashy bath
he soars and curves
over the brick wall


Copyright    Sandra Roe

How to Feed Pink and Grey Galahs

Find them in the local park
by the road side or
wherever they are in your neighbourhood.
Gently call out to them
your address
where you live.
Be specific
they know the way.
They will follow you home.
One evening about a dozen
at the front of your house
or in your backyard
sit and look at you
check you out.
Put out some seed
and tell them
yes, this is the place.
They will do this twice.
They will return
very soon
sit on your letterbox
or on the pillars of your gate
eating your seed.
Listen out for them
every day.
They will sit in your tree
and squeak.


Copyright Sandra Roe

Standing at the stop

standing at the stop
a man came up
a fellow passenger
for the bus
but the bus was late
and he showed me the bird
and its baby in the tree
can you see that, he said
the wattlebird feeding its young
there it goes
the bus was late
but it came along
where’ve you been
I asked the driver
well obviously I’m late
he said

Copyright Sandra Roe