bustles about between tides
probes the wet sand
no one has ever seen it catch an oyster.
The sociable oystercatcher
hurries along the littorals
no time to waste.
It doesn’t suffer from cold feet or
wince as it walks, as I do, barefoot
among the stones & shells
where it raises its chicks … kleep … kleep …
It’s no stick in the mud
this Petone fellow is a ‘variable’
not to be confused with
the ‘pied’ oystercatcher, its cousin.
It comes complete
with waterproof coat
red legs & beak
this haematopodida with a loud squeak … kleep, kleep …
The oystercatcher keeps
a secret for the breeding season
when ‘a trilling, bubbling song is heard’ –
the love song of the wading bird.
Credit note: “Oysters anyone?” was published in Robin Fry’s poetry collection The Love Song Of The Wading Bird (Submarine, an imprint of Mākaro Press, 2014), and is reproduced here by permission of the author and publisher. The Love Song Of The Wading Bird is available from Mākaro Press.
Tim says: I went to the launch of Robin’s latest collection at Artspace Gallery in Petone – a very enjoyable evening, and I loved hearing Robin reading her poems. This is my favourite from the collection – a busy, lively poem to match the busy, lively bird as it goes about its lawful occasions on the Petone foreshore.
The Tuesday Poem: This week, Airini Beautrais takes us back 32 years to Whanganui and the death of Neil Roberts.