“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





11 April 2015


The Australian hobby, Falco longepennis, is a 3/4 scale model of the Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus ... similarly savage, just a wee bit smaller  ... impossibly fast carnivore raptors like these need lots of sugar, so usually eat only the sweet sugary/bloody brains and hearts of their prey and move along ... Pat Harbison is a great South Australian marine biologist and estuary scholar. She lives in Gawler, South Australia with Doctor John

Falco longipennis
for Pat Harbison

What maddened verse gives raptors the rhythm
To thrash through shrubbage and scrub
Risking wings to get at the tucker 
And peck the brains from pigeon, parrot, and bat?

I just looked an Australian hobby in the eyes.
She’d done a wing on a vineyard wire,
Humping through the trellis to get the wee birdies
The vigneron erected plastic falcons to scare. 

Her falconer had set her up well,
Never holding her down like the dreaded vet,
Keeping her weight up, earning her trust
’Til she up and off, one crook wing tip hanging just

Enough to attract that peregrine that
Drilled a shocked silent hole in the sky,
Smashing all sound of bird into nothing:
A sudden feather-free vacuum of death. 

But she came back, that broken one,
Now setting herself on her ground crew’s glove, 
Staring black and yellow to my soul, as if to say
“You thought I was fucked then didn’t you”.     


Philip White
1 April 2002

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