Chattering at the Library


I frequently visit the State Library of Queensland for research and inspiration (plus the bookshop is excellent). This piece was written on a rainy morning while I waited for an event at the Gallery of Modern Art.

Looking out over the trees, I see flashes of red – bottle brushes amongst the gnarled branches. The invisible chattering birds fall quiet as the heavy grey rain breaks from the sky.
The groups of runners in their pink uniforms pick up where the birds leave off, raising their voices to compensate for the heavy thuds hitting the roof and pavements. Not to be outdone, the invisible birds re-commence their chorus.

The air has cooled and in the distance a cyclist shelters under the art gallery awning. The world looks strange today, overcast with mists of orange from the streetlights, the green of the trees, childlike and artificial.

A single ibis shelters with the humans in the brown, black and red world of the café – it speeds up to move away from a patron walking through then returns to a calm patrol for breakfast.

As quickly as the heavy downpour arrived, it has left but the voices in the café have not returned to a pre-rain state.

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