Magpie

Poem By James Phillip McAuley

The magpie's mood is never surly
every morning, wakening early,
he gargles music in his throat,
the liquid squabble of his throat.

Its silver stridencies of sound,
the bright confusions and the round
bell-cadences are pealed
over the frosty, half-ploughed field.

Then swooping down self confidently
from the fence-post or the tree,
he swaggers in pied feather coat,
and slips the fat worms down his throat.

Comments about Magpie

Have loved this poem since I first found it in a copy of 'Surprises of the Sun' bought from the Adelaide University book shop in 1971. my favourite poem of all time, so Australian, so spare and beautiful.


Rating Card

2,5 out of 5
26 total ratings

Other poems of MCAULEY

Marginal Note

A ray of light, to an oblique observer,
Remains invisible in pure dry air;
But shone into a turbid element
It throws distracting side-gleams everywhere

Durer: Innsbruck, 1495

I had often, cowled in the slumbrous heavy air,
Closed my inanimate lids to find it real,
As I knew it would be, the colourful spires

Winter Morning

Spring stars glitter in the freezing sky,
Trees on watch are armoured with frost.
In the dark tarn of a mirror a face appears.

Iris

Not how you would be thought of, your color
Being grey, silky, like a second skin, your hair
Flecked with it. Now, hearing your way of saying
Iridescent while I read your poem, three years

Meanwhile, In Another Part Of The War

On the street of the concrete refugee tenements
That have collapsed into the smoking holes
The Israeli rockets blew open at dawn’s early light,
The sundered limbs and torsos of a Jenin family