Attar is the Soul
Through shadow-drifting veils of time and distance,
Messenger of the Way,
called to her Southern counterpart one day
a Conference of Australian birds
Her cousin, the Spinifex Pigeon soon
‘O Hoopoe Bird, you call me down the years,
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
Help us, O Hoopoe, for on your beak is etched
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,
shall gather my country’s birds today
from the scorching
of this vast, forbidding land; from the seas,
relentless skies and steely trees.
With faith we shall beat our wings
flying in our hearts towards the Light,
seeking for our darkest
sins and sorrows
with quiet resolution.’
Thus spoke the Pigeon
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
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!’