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Hi, I’m Rachael Briggs and this is a poem called “Murder in New South Wales”.
The currawong sat on the currawang
amid the catkins gold
and the curly, trilly song he sang
he warbled black and bold.
From Wagga-Wagga to Wollongong
from Woy-Woy out to Woop-Woop
I’m the strongest, daringest currawong
that ever did eat a pip up.
But a moggy prowled through the under-scrub,
sharp as a chert-chip spearhead.
With a stare and a stalk and a sudden stab,
she murdered him in the spearwood.
O moggy, why do you swallow down
this honeyed throat of sweetness?
I sang as soft as a fairy wren
for your fluffy tabby kittens.
The moggy glowered and flicked her tail
and grumbled inside her: Curse you.
With a beak so hooked and an eye so hard,
How can you cry for mercy?
For you butchered the young of the butcherbird
and you gobbled the ghost moth’s larvae
and you sucked all the gold from the bowerbirds
so they’d never grow bright nor hardy.
The currawong aimed his yellow eye
down the yellow eye of the moggy
and he said: You hunt the garganey
and the innocent white-capped noddy.
You’re as cruel as me. You’ll crunch the crake
and rend the ring-necked plover.
But the moggy only said ‘damn right’
as she picked her teeth with the feathers.”
ABOUT RACHAEL BRIGGS:
Rachael Briggs is a research fellow in the philosophy department at the Australian National University, and writes poetry to unwind. She is the winner of the 2011 Val Vallis Award for Unpublished Poetry, and the cafe poet at the Cafe Checcocho (through the Australian Poetry Centre’s Cafe Poet program).
“I’ve been to Varuna just once, for a week-long retreat that came as part of my prize for the Val Vallis Award. I really appreciated the opportunity to work uninterrupted in Eleanor’s beautiful, well-lit studio.” Rachael Briggs
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