January 18, 2003.

It was an odd sort of joy, on the seventh anniversary of Canberra’s 2003 bushfires, to listen for the first time to a recording of a song I wrote about that event, back in 2008. 

The singer is Louise Page, the clarinettist Nicole Canham, and the pianist Susanne Powell.  All of them are wildly overqualified for the music I gave them to play, and I am more than a little honoured to have my song open a new CD entitled ‘Beautiful – Art Song Canberra Favourites’.

The entire CD, featuring other little-known composers such as Brahms, Barber and Fauré can be bought for $25 plus $3 p&h.  Email pagejl@nospampcug.org.au (remove that nospam bit, naturally)

I expect to see the magpie
and the mynah,
but the falcons, the two brown falcons
wheeling in the sky
and their distant cry –
so strange
and so beautiful.

The Black Cockatoo,
the streak of yellow tail,
and there, on the head,
the Gang-Gang’s shock of red –
so unexpected –
and so beautiful.

I hear the Lyre Birds are gone,
but the tiny sparrows,
red-capped, flame-chested, scarlet-bibbed,
flirting with disaster as they dive,
how on earth did they survive?
How on earth did they survive?
So beautiful …

And to think, that awful day
has brought a strange, sad beauty:
the Nankeen Kestrel,
the bright King Parrot.

If only Alison, Peter, Douglas and Dorothy …
Alison, Peter, Douglas and Dorothy
were here to see them.

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