Giles Watson

Giles Watson

Posted on 06/28/2014

Photo taken on June 29, 2014

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Photo replaced on June 29, 2014
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New Holland Crane

New Holland Crane
New Holland Crane

The trail seemed to take a turn
between termite mounds,
where gumtrees loomed, ragged
as ghosts, and mopoke sounds

were pale enchantments. And
where the dried up river crossed
my trail, I knelt and prayed for
mercy, certain I was lost,

then staggered into sunrise.
Hours passed. Out of the haze
flew red-headed cranes
as trees swam, and a white daze

sent me tumbling. I lay still,
watched long grey birds alight,
form rows, pick stalks, bow heads
leap backwards, as my sight

swirled into dimness. Now I wake,
my head supported as cupped hands
slake my thirst – or perhaps I dream,
for in that mirage a tall man stands

facing a woman, arms held like wings,
stalking, pausing, stamping, leaping back.
My sight swims, the hand cradles,
water runs. Sense plummets into black.

Poem by Giles Watson, 2014. Picture: George Perry, Arcana, or, The museum of natural history : containing the most recent discovered objects : embellished with coloured plates, and corresponding descriptions : with extracts relating to animals, and remarks of celebrated travellers; combining a general survey of nature, 1810. Brolgas have a ritual mating dance, sometimes performed in long lines of pairs, which is imitated by some aboriginal tribes.