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Poem: The bats

Books & Poetry

This week in Poet’s Corner, Heather Nimmo reflects on the grey-headed flying foxes that make their home in Adelaide’s Parklands.

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The bats

on dusk
leave their hanging trees,
in search of fruit and nectar.
Wave upon wave of black ragged shapes
swirling above the darkening parklands trees,
below the full uncertain moon.

Not feathered bird but flying fox
with wings a metre wide
of leathery membrane stretched
between elongated fingers, three
each side, flicking their wings
up and down,
up and down.
This twisting asymmetric flight –
purpose with no discernible pattern.

We watch with awe
and misplaced Transylvanian fear
this agile strangeness shivering across
a sky of pink and vivid blue
onto our own most certain flight
from what we can’t control:
from roots, from stem,
from messy efflorescence.

I never see the bats return.

Heather Nimmo has written more than 20 plays for stage and radio, working with some of Australia’s leading actors, directors and designers. After a number of years in Western Australia, where she won a number of literary prizes, she returned to Adelaide in 2003. She lives in the south-east corner of the Adelaide CBD and is an advocate for the Adelaide Parklands, in particular for Victoria Park. She has taught part-time in the Drama Department at Flinders University, and details of some of her playwriting and further background can be found here and here.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to poetscorner@solsticemedia.com.au. Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.

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