For the Hoodies
On learning of the deaths of MK’s chicks at Betka Beach, Mallacoota.
There’s something about these tiny courageous creatures,
Some imperative of instinct, some inescapable miracle of persistence.
Year after year they come to the beach. They scrape, they lay, they sit
At the mercy of the tides (which are incapable of humanity).
In the flailing fists of storms and the beating of the summer sun they sit bravely
Between the trampling feet of tourists and locals alike and
the thundering paws of all those dogs who “never chase birds”.
They hatch, defend, almost inevitably mourn
The tiny souls whose lives they cannot protect.
They can be forgiven for following their bird nature,
The pull of place each season, however hopeless it turns out to be.
We who are capable of change and choice, who choose to ignore the signs,
Who choose not to leash our dogs,
Who choose not to walk somewhere else for a brief, life-giving time -
We who pat ourselves on our highly-evolved backs, full of civilised self-regard -
We will never have half the courage and sweetness of these plucky little birds
Who struggle in the teeth of adversity.
We cannot be forgiven.
(c) Sue Hines 2018