house sparrow australia
by Marilyn Humbert

A host of brown-winged angels
sissonne* across the lawn,
forage on dewy grass.

The sparrow choir’s crisp notes
vibrates through my hollow bones
fills the spaces I leave
moving towards day.

My footprints overlay
tiny prints, scattered leaps
among leaf litter
piled by the night wind.

I wonder in passing,
about their exiled ancestors and mine,
released to settle among kookaburras
to learn new rhythms

of the red-dust heartland,
between wind-worn granite ranges
the gidgee thickets, Gondwana forests.
Times of drought and plenty.

I glance over my shoulder,
their jeweled sparrow eyes
fixed on swirling insects
ignoring me.

* sissonne – a ballet step, the legs are spread in the and air closed on descent.

PHOTO: House sparrow (Victoria, Australia) by

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The Australian sparrows were introduced from Britain between 1863 and 1870. Their species name is Passer domesticus. Read more at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marilyn Humbert lives on Darug and GuriNgai land in Berowra, New South Wales, Australia. Her tanka and haiku appear in International and Australian journals, anthologies, and online. Her free verse poems have been awarded prizes in competitions, published in anthologies, journals, and online most recently in FemAsia Magazine.