In the bright light of afternoon we walk across our city – over Kings Avenue Bridge and along the bike path to East Basin. We often do this walk in busier times – avoiding joggers and cyclists. Today it is disconcertingly quiet. The rabbits seem to have got the memo about Covid-19 because they have come out to play in this new land where human beings have almost disappeared. It doesn’t take long for animals to sniff out the stillness.
My cousin, Stan, recently posted photos of otters chilling out in some of the busiest places in Singapore and the English poet, Oz Hardwick, posted a glorious little video of a fox leaping freely in the city streets of York on a Bank Holiday Saturday night. At 3pm in the afternoon rabbits are out frolicking in open grassy spaces near the centre of our city.
I understand that these are feral animals and we should be appalled to see dozens of them romping happily by the lake but there’s something so irrepressibly joyful about the frisk and scurry of these small creatures.
These bunnies tumble me back into the picture book happiness of childhood – Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and naughty Peter, Brer Rabbit with his tricksy ways, the endearing cuteness of Thumper, those lively scenes on Bunnikins crockery.
Here they all are twitching and hopping in their own new story where rabbits roam free and people stay at home…
© Anita Patel, 2020
Published by anitapatel
Anita Patel is a writer (and retired teacher) who has lived in Canberra since 1982. She is as Australian as a banana paddle pop and a pair of sandy thongs and she is also a part of the Asian diaspora. Her collections of poetry are: 'Petals Fall' published by Recent Work Press in 2022 (https://recentworkpress.com/product/petals-fall) and 'A Common Garment' published by Recent Work Press in 2019 (https://recentworkpress.com/product/a-common-garment/).
In 2019 she collaborated with acclaimed artist, Annie Franklin, to produce 'Heart Stitched' (a story (in paintings and poetry) of the quirky, unexpected and dazzling layers in the natural world).
She has had work published in the Canberra Times, in Conversations (Pandanus Press, ANU), in Block 9, Burley Journal, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Demos Journal, Mascara Literary Review, Not Very Quiet Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, Backstory Journal, Other Terrain Journal, Pink Cover Zine, FemAsia Magazine, Plumwood Mountain Journal and Eucalypt: a tanka journal, The Australian Poetry Anthology (Vol. 8 2020) and Print Issue 42 of The Blue Nib Journal. Her children’s poems are included in an anthology Pardon My Garden published by Harper Collins. Her poem “Women’s Talk” won the ACT Writers Centre Poetry Prize in 2004 and her poetry was selected for and published in Australian Book Review’s States of Poetry ACT, 2018.
She has performed her work at the Canberra Multicultural Festival, Poetry on the Move Festival, Noted Festival, Floriade Fringe Festival, In Other Words Festival (at Lost in Books, Fairfield), the Queensland Poetry Festival, the National Folk Festival, at Smith’s Alternative, at Word in Hand, Glebe and La Mama Poetica.
Her reviews, “Found in Translation”, on the performances of four Japanese women poets and their translators at Poetry on the Move Festival, 2017 and “No More Silent Waiting”, on the anthology Autonomy edited by Kathy D’Arcy (2018) have been published by Not Very Quiet Journal. She was the guest editor for Issue 2 of Not Very Quiet Journal. View all posts by anitapatel