An Australian Conference of the Birds
Book Sample

Attar is the Soul ltself... Rumi

Through shadow-drifting veils of time and distance,
Attar’s Hoopoe, Messenger of the Way,
called to her Southern counterpart one day
to arrange a Conference of Australian birds
Her cousin, the Spinifex Pigeon soon rephed,

bird image

‘O Hoopoe Bird, you call me down the years,
you who have passed across an abyss of fears
by a bridge much finer than a human hair,
beset by terror. As you say, only
those birds who peck away their souls to know
the highest love, can find Tariqat.
Help us, O Hoopoe, for on your beak is etched
the blessed word Bismillah for all to see.

King Solomon could speak in your warbling tones;
you understood each other, heart to heart
so you carried messages from his court
to Belquis, Sheba’s Queen. For your valour
he honoured you with a golden feathered crest.

Now we must learn from you about your quest
seeking Simorgh, the Bird-King, long ago.
I, too, my cousin, have a treasured crown,
so I shall gather my country’s birds today
from the scorching deserts and sullen swamps
of this vast, forbidding land; from the seas,
rivers, relentless skies and steely trees.
With faith we shall beat our wings as one,
flying in our hearts towards the Light,
seeking for our darkest sins and sorrows
with quiet resolution.’

Thus spoke the Pigeon
calling coo-whoo to the Hoopoe’s hudud,
then he flew from the unforgiving blue
to settle near a lonely bfflabong.

A soft wind rippled the water as the Pigeon
welcomed a Wagtail,

‘You always sing Sweet
pretty creature to yourself in the moonlight,
yet like Moses on Mount Sinai, you see
the bush-fires burning; you know this austere land
from shore to shore. Now gather thirty birds.
You're vain, with your silly song, so make amends!’

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