Nov/Dec 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 6 PoetryNovember 1, 2020 |

Establishing a Proximity

Magpie lands close — almost eye-to-eye —  to “avianise” me to sum up whether or not we might coexist, family beside family, to find a safe zone within perspective, a nesting place close to human habitation, working facial recognition. Hours of up-close interaction — followings, conversation, scrutiny. And the rest of his group arrives to check us out in consultation. I can guess they don’t use words like “tribe” or “parliament” to self-describe but have other words more atuned to their local condition, their specific vocality. The male I liaise with is setting up and surveying and in negotiation (welcome!), but there’s group-talk I’m not privy to — a robust discussion over acts of imposing magpie qualities to human features, the tendency to “avianise” the friendly, the seemingly empathetic. Even so, I insist I connect — it is the case. But this comparing of magpie life to human life, of human life to magpie life, leaves the afte

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John Kinsella
John Kinsella's recent books of poetry include Firebreaks (WW Norton, 2016), Jam Tree Gully (WW Norton, 2012) which won the Australian Prime Minister's Award for Poetry and the Judith Wright Calanthe Award, and Sack (Picador, UK, 2014). He is an Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University and Professor of Literature and Environment at Curtin University.

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Red

By John Kinsella

Magpie lands close — almost eye-to-eye —  to “avianise” me to sum up whether or not we might coexist, family beside family, to find a safe zone within perspective, a nesting place close […]

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