Kookaburra Shakes photo by G Bryden


together in this world
sometimes we get soaked,
shake and laugh it off

sitting together,
shaking spray without thinking,
a price is paid

a stranger shakes
water from a deep well,
kookaburras laugh


Note: Australian author and editor of Overland literary journal Jeff Sparrow has written an excellent article in response to the recent violent protests by Muslims in Sydney and around the world asking ‘Why should such a shoddy piece of amateur filmmaking become such a flashpoint?’. Of course there is more to this issue than an insulting film (but going by many simplistic articles in the press, you mightn’t think this was the case). His article published in Counterpunch ‘Ignorance on Parade: Islamophobia, Left and Right’ can be found here.


31 thoughts on “Tolerance

  1. Thanks for the read. The photo is awesome (just at the right moment). Ties in well with the last line too … although I would almost say it us laughing at the kookaburra in the photo. Great theme for the poem and if only more of us had such an attitude.

  2. Good analogy in words and photo (excellent – the dry kooka even looks as if he’s leaning slightly (to the left haha).

    Have you read this commentary by Waleed Aly?

    I watched a BBC doco the other night called ‘Surviving Progress’ and all it did was strengthen my view that we humans are just inherently selfish and stupid, living with our heads up our bums and beyond help. Reductionist, yes, but we are definitely not evolving on the tolerance and living-in-peace fronts.

    1. The kooka certainly looks like he/she is leaning away slightly bluebee – haha. I did read Waleed Aly’s article – it went a bit viral on twitter. It’s hard to frame human activity and thought in a positive light, isn’t it – I don’t have any answers and I think any solutions will not be made by humans – they may however be generated by humans (eg., global war which will reduce the size of the population to a manageable level). I fear it will be a dog eat dog world in the near future (even those of us who don’t like to eat dog will be forced to partake).

    1. Thanks Stafford – yes, it is one of those mutating poems which changes form everytime you read it (and also if you don’t read my note at the bottom and just read it as a haiku with the kookaburras as inspiration – which it is legitimate as well). The Kookaburras can’t help but laugh – humans can respond in many ways. I think the Muslim world definitely feels many Westerners are laughing at them. The film was designed to provoke – completely ignoring it would have been a very effective strategy (just like ignoring trolls and bullies).

  3. Love this post and the images of this bird posted on your site. I had never even heard of Australia, much less knew what a Kookaburra was but when I was in elementary school a teacher taught us the “Kookaburra” son and to this day I remember it still.

  4. Wonderful poem and wonderful poem illustrating it. Your nature poems are some of my favorites. We learn so much from looking at nature and thinking about it. And you find amazing words and word structures when you look.

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