A scribbler such as myself could be overwhelmed by a great poet like Smithyman's talent and significance, and be cowed into silence, but I am heartened by the popular phrase "Let a thousand flowers bloom", an affirmation evolved from Chairman Mao's injunction to "Let a hundred flowers blossom". Only a hundred? Make that thousands of Tuesday poets!
This is the famous bar-tailed godwit named E7who has had books written about her. With transmitter attached she made the epic series of flights from New Zealand to Alaska and back that are the routine for this species of migratory bird.
Tracked by satellite, E7 made the longest recorded nonstop flight by a 'land bird'. Altogether she made a 29,000 km series of flights on her trip to her breeding grounds and back.
She has retired these days and is living in an estuary on the Bay of Plenty coast line.
Or she was, until last week. I haven't heard yet, whether anyone knows if she is one of the countless thousands of birds that have been killed by the horrific oil spill from the stranded container ship the Rena.
E7 is well known and has her tag on so the local bird experts will be keeping a look out for her. I almost don't want to know.
I can't imagine anyone reading the species statistics of the birds found dead so far without tears coming into their eyes.
This below was an early list of the dead birds that had been found and identified. It's only the tip of the iceberg of course.
At that stage there was only one bar-tailed godwit. I saw the dead albatross on the news and wept then as I weep now.
Mallard/hybrid duck 2
Little penguin 20
Antipodean wandering albatross 1
White-capped mollymawk 1
Northern giant petrel 2
Cape petrel 4
Grey-faced petrel 1
Mottled petrel 1
Antarctic prion 3
Fairy prion 12
Blue petrel 13
Buller’s shearwater 92
Flesh-footed shearwater 3
Sooty shearwater 13
Fluttering shearwater 198
Little shearwater 15
Common diving petrel 358
White-faced storm petrel 38
Australasian gannet 7
Pied shag 4
Little black shag 1
Spotted shag 2
Bar-tailed godwit 1
Variable oystercatcher 1
Rock pigeon 3
Australian magpie 1
And let us be clear. This was no 'accident'. This was an accident waiting to happen, and the 'blame' is not on one person. It can be sheeted home to New Zealand's right wing neo-liberal economic policy 'experiment' that puts corporate profits ahead of safety.
It took several weeks in New Zealand for the mainstream media to report Occupy Wall Street.
And there seems to be a lockdown here on any criticism of our money trader Prime Minister John Key.
Any slipping of his bland smiling mask (as with the throat slashing gesture Key made in Parliament last week to Phil Goff) and the evidence is removed from online archives and doesn't appear in news bulletins.
It's an information stranglehold.
Free Speech is OK as long as you agree with the Big Boys.
Hypocrisy. Is. Everywhere. Not just in Wellington. But especially. In.
New Tabby likes to position himself in the highest place in the room. This time he found he had competition for the role of Top Cat. Golden Pussy had a scarily fixed stare and just would not blink or back down...
For an urban garden the wildlife is not too bad here in the rambling two story mansion. We are on a hill overlooking the harbour and so the view of the city, sea and hills is amazing. It's only five minutes' drive to the centre of the city. And there are pockets of bush on our section and nearby. So we have resident tui, flaneuring flocks of wax-eyes, and even have been visited on occasion by a couple of fat 'wood pigeon' kereru.
We make sure to attach bells to the Tabbyssinian when he goes outside and so far (cross fingers) he hasn't brought back a native bird at all. In fact he seems to prefer chasing insects and catching lizards, and almost always brings the reptiles back in a rescuable form. He stalks the common skink (not the rare jewelled gecko, thank goodness!) - and at first it was only the tail he was left with, but he soon cottoned on to that trick and started presenting us with the skink minus tail. Then he wised up to the detachable tail thing and has lately been returning with the animal whole. I hope they survive when we take them back outside. It's not easy sometimes, living with a predator, but we do our best to minimise the slaughter. And I understand he's just trying to contribute to our household stores. For himself, he prefers cat biscuits to anything that creeps or crawls or flies.
Mystical contemplation of a tiny bug.
Note the bright spangly pink collar (it has two bells).
According to the famous mathematical thought experiment, Schroedinger's cat is neither dead nor alive. So it's a cool concept if you don't like being locked into binaries. Not so good if you don't like being locked into a lethal booby-trapped box. And from the cat's point of view, there is no ambiguity at all.