The NS Poem: Inland Thornbills

A new poem by John Kinsella

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The lucerne trees are reverberating with crackling seedpods
and aggregating grasshoppers, each tendril brash and volatile.

Below the twists, the screws of charcoal seedpods working contents
out to drop into the dust below, ants collecting black teardrops.

And into the cool heat, the meltdown of senses, a flock – a family?
of fledgling inland thornbills, rippling positive-negative of chests,

as big as my eye when I watch through fissures and gaps in foliage,
as they vacate rapidly to leave one behind thinking – surely

one inland thornbill on its own in uneasy balance with me,
waiting for the vibration trip-switch to change the setting,

studying me with an eye bigger than the ambitions
of the greediest humans, bigger even than the final

voids gifted by miners,



John Kinsella’s selected poems, Drowning in Wheat, is published by Picador. His latest collection, The Wound, is published by Arc.

This article appears in the 08 June 2018 issue of the New Statesman, The Nuclear Family

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