thunder birds are gone

Genyornis newtoni once roamed Australia’s interior before a change in climate turned lakes and forests into flat desert’
– The Guardian 26 December 2021

Swiping listlessly
post-Christmassly
through the Boxing Day news
I read about an ancient bird whose
ending seemed pretty bleak
I mean – this was a bird whose beak
was so vast
it could swallow any human running past
its legs so extensive
they looked positively offensive
but maybe it was just when they sat on an egg to hatch it
they had to be sure when the chick sprang out they were fast enough to catch it

Anyway – the bird was called Genyornis newtoni
or Thunder Bird to you and I
(and whoever called it the Demon Duck
was a tactless, palaeontological schmuck)

But things got hot and it quit the scene
sometime round the Pleistocene
the lake it liked disappeared
hungry humans hunted them with spears
till the day finally came when humans walked
and wondered when the last bird squawked

I’m not sure the point I’m trying to make
about big birds dying by a drying lake
something about the climate emergency?
maybe, but you know – personally?
I do what I can
I water the garden with a watering can
not a hose
which helps a little I suppose
I take the train
I walk to the shops and back again
and who knows what’ll happen?
maybe one day in the distant future
a robot with an artificial sense of humour
will dig up my skull, give it a stroke
and say something snarky about this puny human bloke
but hey – so long as I’m not a demon duck
I’ll be long gone baby and I won’t give a hoot

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