Monday, May 11, 2015


I was given the opportunity by Jill Sampson, artist and curator of Bimblebox: 153 Birds to write a poem about the Brown Goshawk. Here it is:

Accipiter fasciatus

I am beguiled by the yellow
of your eye  the bright pierce of it

You skirring overhead
wrists pushed forward

Me looking up
into the blue squint

You more interested in luckless burrowings
at my feet  than in my hollowing thoughts

In the mottled unwelcome sparrow or the
black and white flash of the strenuous magpie

Your frowning steel grey smudges into rufous
the colour of   turned earth   or dried blood

Menace clips at my elbow

fear loops deep in my belly 

It’s last
wretched beak clap

Your strike 
that thud

My shudder
I am plucked half bare

© Lizz Murphy

[Sorry the line breaks are doing their own tricky thing today and there is even purple capitals in the middle of the poem!! Wot the ...]

I enjoyed the experience of getting to know this bird of prey, trying somehow to get into its particular beak and feather. A friend of a friend cares for injured birds of prey – I can’t imagine how amazing it must be to have such close encounters.

We mostly see these birds when we’re driving. We screech to a halt if we see a hawk perched on a dead branch or a kestrel hovering above us, and twist our necks and bodies as much as we can to follow wedge tailed eagles overhead. We pull over when we can of course and spend a little time in awe. The power of them, the movement, the kill ahead … Once I saw a bird travelling above the road with a coiling snake in its talons. There’s a draft poem waiting.

I have such gratitude for people who work with wildlife - whether it’s bird watchers, volunteer carers or scientists - who make their observations and research widely available online. It is fascinating to read about any creature's habits and habitat. I especially like the descriptions of birds in flight and any detail about the movement or anatomy – which I sometimes use. Thank you all.

If you’re interested in how art and science can work together have a look at this and other fantastic art, science and nature projects promoting the plight of Bimblebox Nature Refuge in the Gallilee Basin in Central Queensland. It is under threat from open cut coal mining. There are artists’ camps, national touring exhibitions, satellite exhibitions and a digital catalogue. The full story is here.

The Bimblebox: 153 Birds inaugural installation has just opened at Impress Printmakers Studio and Gallery, Kedron subARTStation, 134 Kedron Park Road, Wooloowin, Qld and will continue until May 17.

Word is travelling not just across the country but across the world, through the organizers’ efforts, and the networks of artists, writers and musicians and their social media activities. 153 birds, 153 artists, 153 writers, 153 musicians!

Local Bimblebox poets include Jane Baker (Yass), Robyn Sykes (Binalong) and myself. The full list of writers is mighty and includes quite a few from the Canberra/NSW Region. Click here.

Writers were also required to provide an audio clip of their piece. These have been mixed with musical contributions based on each bird’s call, as an accompanying sound compilation by Boyd.

Congratulations to Jill Sampson and all involved. Best wishes for your fight and more power to you. It’s a pleasure to be a small part of it.

The national touring exhibition Bimblebox: Art – Science – Nature is currently at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery. The next artists’ camp will be held in September. Watch for Bimblebox: 153 Birds touring venues and dates.

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