Well this is a new twist. Eight poems, racing from Stanwell Tops to Mt Ousley (both in Australia), attached to the legs of eight racing pigeons. They even had bodyguards – two other homing pigeons per bird, to try and distract any hungry peregrine falcons.
Naturally the press coverage didn’t include the poems, or any terribly intelligent comment. The usual puns – “Bards of a Feather”, “Homer pigeons”.
For those who are interested in the results, the winning bird, Jimbala, covered the distance of 20 kilometres in 15 minutes, 22 seconds, and was carrying a poem called Velocity, written by Newcastle poet Ivy Ireland. The poem itself was inspired by the story of Gustav, the first Allied pigeon to deliver the news of D-Day back to Britain (flying more than five hours across the Channel against headwinds of 50 kilometres an hour to do so).
And for those of you who hold true to the belief that we Aussies will bet on anything … yep. The story doesn’t mention any huge betting plunges, or suspicions of dodgey doings, but mentions that a seven-year-old girl called Anna Coles put a $1 bet on a sleek pigeon called The Big Ish.
Actually it’s not such a bad idea. Maybe that’s something we should try next year for National Poetry Day?