At night she sleeps on cardboard
near the concrete station entrance.
In the daylight she holds court
among hungry birds massed in the park,
like a queen with paper bags
of rich crusts, showers of crumbs.
The seagulls and the cockatoo mob
squall and squabble and beg.
They dip their bright-eyed heads
and jockey for position,
worshipping the old bird-woman
in her lumpy, faded robes.
Then she plumps to sit on the bench,
showing them her empty hands,
replete with her feast of gratitude.
When they see the food is gone,
the birds rise in a flurry of feathers,
leaving her surrounded by droppings,
and a few curved feathers like jewels.
In the wild kingdom of this park,
ruler and subjects are well content.
Wendy Blaxland lives in Sydney, Australia. She has worked as a professional writer for a number of years, with over 100 books published, mainly for children, and over 25 plays produced. Her poems have been published both in Australia and overseas. Wendy lives in the bush near Sydney and much of her poetry is inspired by the environment in which she lives.