“First taste,” “Cooks River Avian Real Estate,” and “Breakfast”

“First taste,” “Cooks River Avian Real Estate,” and “Breakfast”

First taste

Obediently, the baby

opens her mouth

to the spoon.


She has watched the adults

opening their mouths

around the table for so long,

smelling the aromas

as dishes are shared.

Those brilliant colours,

those shapes and textures...

How everyone else is enjoying it all.


She has sat on a lap,

eyes following the passage

of forks and spoons to mouths;

wondering, yearning, left out.


Enough of that familiar milk,

no matter how satisfying.


And now the miracle happens.

A beloved adult dips a finger,

smooshes something soft,

and miraculously, offers it to her.


That baby bird mouth opens hesitantly,

the finger delivers...what?

Her eyes reflect wonder,

trepidation, and then...yes!

Banana, it seems, is acceptable.


Soon she will be admitted

into the mysteries

of that small soft spoon

in her own unpractised hand.


A scraping of avocado,

a dab of mashed potato,

a little stewed apple.

The world holds such marvels.


Later, dreaming in safe arms,

her mouth re-lives the motions,

rehearsing the joys that lie

behind, and ahead.

Cooks River Avian Real Estate

The top level of bird tenants includes

an impeccably elegant heron,

its neck an impossible S-bend curve.

Below in the trees a fret of noisy mynahs

is warning the mob that the world

is about to end. ALARM!

A solid midway branch is roost for a quartet

of cosy pigeons. A male

tries half-heartedly to mount

one of the females. She

simply shuffles forward a step,

then resettles her iridescent feathers.

And down here on the ground floor level

an ibis stalks across the pavement,

tapping it with a long, curved, blunt-ended beak.

The ibis places each four-toed foot

carefully, like a model

on an asphalt catwalk.

Its feet are decorated with white scales

like boho strings of pearls.

A discarded crust may well taste like caviar.

Back to me, as odd a bird as any,

flightless on the lowest level,

marvelling at the avian world.


A golden skink just darted out

to eat a half-stunned ant I’d rescued from our pool,

It seemed a sliver of ancient sandstone rock

had come alive to freeze there, glowing, throbbing.

The skink eyed me,

gauged the threat of this huge floating head,

gulped its spiky prey a little further down

and took its flight in hesitant runs:

ran and paused, then poured itself away.

About the Author

Wendy Blaxland

Wendy Blaxland’s award-winning poetry is widely published around the world, including Australia, England, the United States and Europe. She also relishes writing children’s books and plays, as well as exploring the past, the future and the funny side of life in her work.
Wendy lives surrounded by the bush near Sydney, which inspires much of her poetry. But closest to her writing heart are the people she cares deeply about, and making sense of infinity within our finite lives.