Judith Wright’s small poem “Extinct Birds”, conveys a strong and powerful message to the reader. She brings the visual imagery of the birds to life through the lines, “bird, blue, small, spangled like dew” and “scarlet satin-bird, swung like a lamp in berries”, appealing to the mind and senses and allowing for a deeper connection, understanding and appreciation of the birds mentioned in the poem. There is a paradox in Wright’s final lines,
“ All now are vanished with the fallen forest.
And he, unloved, past hope, was buried,
who helped with proud stained hands to fell the forest.”
In “Red List” I have chosen to depict a common pink galah, felled not by a logger’s axe, but by the rush of metal. The natural habitat of our birds is shrinking, forcing them out of the forest and into the headlights and almost certain death. Ornithological text depicted in the work, references the critically endangered Australian birds currently on the IUCN Red List. Their common names are Orange-bellied Parrot, Spotted Quail Thrush and the Regent Honeyeater.
Fiona Rafferty – “Reminiscence” – September 2015 (Bowral)