Looping invisible curls

of moths' paths

like a wily crazy comet,

grey fantail stops short

upon a slender branch,

coquettishly pauses

and unfurls dark feathers


into a preening fan

before darting off

to dance again

the insects' currents.

Grey Fantail

Amid grevillea blossoms

you dangle upside down

then perch upon a twig,

head cocked and eyes intent

before a quick descent,

a full immersion,

ecstatic fluttering wings.

Rising, dripping

ruffling feathers

shaking fluffed out breast,

you raise a foot to scratch

a pointed beak

before you plunge again

into a ritual bath.

Fan-tail's cheeky choreography

acts on me like gospel chants,

I watch transfixed and tap my feet,

the rhythm found

my shoulders raise like wings.

I praise angelic avian hosts

who share this place with me.


In glaring heat or after rain

the bush intoxicates with fragrances

bestowing grace

and offering communion.


is the best attitude to take.

Lying on the ground

allows a bird's eye view

of filtered sky, a filigree,

a Gothic tracery of branches,

scrawny limbs with grey-green leaves

pendulous, like fingers

intent on reaching heaven.

Trunks humbly wear a camouflage

of bark striations, muted grey-brown

whispers fall to the ground

in thin dry strips

revealing smooth flayed skin

luminous in early morning.

Pale sky turns blue,

sunlight glimmers,

birds dart and sing

dawn prayers and blessings.

from Black Stone Birds and Memento Mori.

Published by Black Stones Press.

© Poetry and artwork copyright Victoria King 2023.

Time stops

when death walks

through the door

and takes away agendas.

Only space remains

as thoughts unfettered


in aching emptiness,

the mind

an echo-chamber

for contemplation

of past actions.

Time Stops

Far more effectively

than priests,

medieval sculptors

communicated pathos

and damnation

of tortured souls

with bulging eyes

and mouths agape

in silent screams.

Stone serpents unrepentant

twine amongst carved ivy.


How to mourn

when all my life

I have been grieving?

In the desert

wailing, keening

women cut themselves,

shave off their hair

to mourn beloved dead.

I grieve alone;

my whiteness

my dis-ease.

Sorry Business

Plane trees camouflaged

in cream-grey-greens

line narrow country roads.

A gentle breeze

stirs new May leaves,

wildflowers, grasses, herbs.

Lavender in scented rows,

gnarled vines and olive trees,

apples, cherries, pears.

Soft rain, dark earth,

terrain to soothe the senses

if you had not just died.

Body Language

Body-animal erupts,

weeping, wailing, sobbing.

My skin is far too thin.

No shaman needed

for this dirge of grief,

lament, regret.

When death next strikes

I'll draw the curtains,

stop the clocks

and drape each mirror

with a cloth

to prevent another haunting.