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lake oberon tasmania image with poems by john bryan on
lake oberon, tasmania

h o u s e   o f   r a t i t e s

:  j o h n   b r y a n

all hail,
the Diatryma world order
it's ascendency
encompassing height

I. Aepyornis maximus

under the guise
of rukh you
molest Sinbad
cowering behind the dome
of your egg
and Marco Polo too
his trembling foot upon your
Isle of Magastar
you seizing the elephantine
exaggeration high in the air
floats it onto cliffs to smash
and eat at your leisure.

II. Dinornis giganteus

the onslaught
is bought ashore with
the Maori Great Fleet
against birds and reptillian
things alike
the armada of
James Cook takes
it's place on North Island
ashore his pre cannibalized
you rest to haunt
in old eggs dried by mud
perhaps and hopefully
waiting to crack.

III. Struthio camelus

a new greatness rules those that soar
above the ruler small to the sky
with His iron fist defeated
aviaries forged and had to bow down
before Him as far and as long
His tyranny of speed and distance permits
His large boned gravity bound haughty
all who must ultimately land
no mercy to these who now realize
He does not look so small.

IV. Dromaius novaehollandiae

Old man why you mutter
To no one in particular but
The yellow of plains while brush
Tickles your throat
Old man shitting in flightless motion
The soil fed and belched
Out scrub
Old man the very sweat of you
Penetrates like a sun's tear
Will you peck it till night bleeds
- eye, if i can, eye ...

V. Casuarias casuarias

stammel war of the wattles
in paludal eerie much
to caw ' as Australian as you '
Oz you are more
casque crusades in the forest
the fortress of fruit falls
conquering emus
their colors ransacked
if yield i must let it be
gaped upon your indigenous
misericord three toed
you have killed before.

VI. Rhea americana

i was looking
for a New World sort
of girl who
could dance in
nothing but feathers
along the crumbling
foundations of
she hid her head
in the monocultered deserts
of Mato Grosso
her swaying gaze
brushing dust
off my face.

VII. Apteryx australis

and small

is the most



House of Ratites
- all hail
the new Diatryma world order


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