old birds refrained

that one

he said

you have to be good
to see that one

we are talking
about a bird
singing

I say
that it’s just a blackbird

no no
that one
is not a blackbird

that one
is up there
in the gum tree
and it sings its heart out
every afternoon

I haven’t seen it
(you’d have to be good
to see it)
but it isn’t
a blackbird

I’ve come
for a routine visit

and found them
seated at the table
outside their back door
under the verandah

they’re both buggered
today

he can’t get enough
air
to allow him to walk
and work

she
has pain in her lower back
that won’t let her
straighten up

he still has a twinkle
in his eye
as he argues the merits
of a bird’s song

she wears
a long look
as she misidentifies
a magpie
as a currawong

they always come around
and start singing
when it’s going to rain

she says it aloud
but no-one really listens

the song
of that bird
is an old refrain


© Frank Prem, 2016

Poem #11: learning to read by inches

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3 thoughts on “old birds refrained

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