The Naturalist


john gould-2


1. The Shore
A pelican frame,
the great wings hung,
flight feathers scattered,
elegant bill and sail spoiled.
An inverted stingray
(smiley face, gills like buttonholes)
alive with flies and sea lice.
Rope, kelp, sharp sand and basalt ovoids.

2. The Rookery
Raucous kee-oww at 100dBA.
The complete cycle of the silver gull —
fucking, nesting (untidy ground dish)
speckled eggs, downy chick peep.
wanderers are murdered
or owl blasted.
Stink and new life and rot everywhere —

At night we walked through the rookery,
hundreds moving
dark wings on a darker sky
turning together.

3. The Stone Axe
sits perfectly in my hand.
The heft, the cunning blade,
its purpose inheres and reveals.

Found approx. 100 meters up on the western side.
Geo-tagged, photographed in my hand, uploaded

so the maker
might again
take it up
just as it fell
from his hand
a thousand years ago —

Image: John Gould Esq., F.R.S., the ornithologist – from a lithograph by Maguire, The Illustrated London News, June 12, 1852. I’ve updated this poem after my latest visit to the Five Islands Nature Reserve off the coast of Wollongong – hope you like it.

And here’s Aldous Harding with Treasure (formerly from NZ, now Cardiff-based folk-adjacent)

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