For my birthday

An hour after sunrise

I received

This roar of yellow-crested white-breasted cockatoos

I saw

In their soar

That a flock is not a throng.

Cockatoos do not dodge and dart along concrete footpaths

Towards towering stacks of desks, opening yesterday’s files.

Their heads are not tucked into chest

There’s no green light to beeline

Or marked lanes to enforce.

On the way, outside the Salvation Army shelter

There’s no bottomless ever-empty cap of coins

From which to avert eyes

Not for lack of compassion

But for its presence in the face of powerlessness.

That’s us:

The crowd.

But they might be us too: 

The cockatoos.

Combs high, wings wide,

It’s the throat that makes them a flock:

full of life.

Passing through, they possess the blue red sky 

as brightly as it possess them

Soaring, calling, crying, crowing

Each leading, each following, following, leading

I’m here, you’re there, we’re here

Come here, hear, here

Towards food towards safety towards sun together

Air is rider, rider is air

Wings are magnets – the only force, invisible, beyond any one body:

Tug, and then set, tug and set – 

come here, stay there, here, just there

Calling, always calling

In full bodied flow of attention 

to our continual throb of connection

No bond glued tight

No culture set fast

But belonging, creating a life continually sewn

Come along come come come 

Here  hear   Here  hear    we are



And now

And now

You and we

– Naomi Byrnes, 5 April 2017