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songs of a poet lorikeet

Peter Meggitt (“Lorikeet”) was born in Brisbane in 1943 but has lived most of his life on his beloved Gold Coast. He retired in 2014 after a career as a university academic but would like to be remembered as a regional poet who still celebrates this unique environment every day, whether bush walking or surfing. 

This collection of poems, written over a 50-year period, was gathered primarily for friends and family to enjoy. However, it may also appeal to those who have been privileged to be part of this era in this vibrant setting. His world travels, family portraits and romantic adventures may also connect with some readers.


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Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 155
Genre: Australian Poetry




Peter Meggitt
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published:  2017
Language: English





In 1970 Lorikeet produced a volume of poems written between 1963 and 1970 which was typed by “the funny, sunny whirlwind” who was about to become his wife. His statement on the nature of the process of writing poetry, which introduced this collection, has remained basically unchanged with the exception of the religious sentiments which have changed in this new collection from “He who provides the stone” to “whatever Gods may be.” This is what he wrote in 1970, nearly 50 years ago. 

“The creative process is to me, a miraculous intangible. All too frequently I am possessed of urgent demons, words cry out to be affiliated, images flow like molten lava and set just as quickly. To take a chisel to them would be to desecrate their spontaneity for the mason’s art is a clumsy imitation of Him who provides the stone. (L. rarely revised the initial draft and still doesn’t.) 

“This collection is very much a diary but I offer its secrets, not to the morbidly curious person whose whole life is spent on the sidelines, but as a challenge to relive the traumas and zeniths of eight crucial years of early manhood and to feel the warmth again of the throbs and tingles of shared experience. 

“The artful writer can provide the gold threads in the grey tapestry of his millennium. He can sound the sweet notes when, all around us, discord assaults the sensitive ear. His is the inner world of the mind which the scientist cannot plumb with trace elements nor the surgeon with the sharpest steel. His is the infinite universe of the imagination which cannot be charted by the astronaut or threatened by international politics. 

“It is with some trepidation that I launch this frail craft down the slipway of scholarly criticism into the grey waters of public scrutiny for its hull is made of my bones. The caulking is compounded of my blood and tears. The sails are my flesh. However, it would be equally cowardly to shiver in the dry dock and never take the plunge. I submit this collection without great expectations, but with some pride.” 

For the next 14 years he was too busy for anything other than pursuing a career in higher education, writing conference papers and theses and raising four amazing children, but his love of chronicling their achievements and his adventures and misadventures found expression in further poetic scribblings of a more private nature. 

In the intervening years he has continued to record the highlights of the events, people and places which have shaped his destiny and stimulated many hours of reflection. Now it is his desire to share these experiences, thoughts and feelings with those special people who have passed in and out of his life, many of whom made major contributions to the highs and lows during this journey, which has certainly never been dull. Hopefully his insights have helped to avoid further disasters, though not always, and, for sure, delighting in small victories, sensory pleasures and good companions has fired his optimism and will to give back to this endangered planet and its increasingly bewildered inhabitants. When his turn comes to join the compost he will go willingly and warmed by the memories of many adventures, loving family and generous friends who he hopes will understand and appreciate him in a new way. 

If you appear in these poems and receive a copy it is because you made a difference. Heartfelt thanks for sharing the journey and may the universe continue to nourish your deserving spirits. 

Peter Harold Meggitt

Miami, Gold Coast

12th April 2016

Read a sample:



February 1966


We have seen children

tall as the kunai

with limbs like muruk

and eyes which grin

like the skulls of Segoiyu

scaling the high and narrow trails

with their villages on their backs

and pigs like scrawny black dogs

and a shangri-la mountain

of flower blankets, fruit trees

and stilted houses full of laughter…

We have heard the kundu throb for hours

and watched the barefoot ballet of a thousand years

of feather-swish and shell-clash

and hypnotic pounding of leather feet

of leaping grace and glistening sweat through pig fat

and flamboyant ochres, the rattle of bones

and the wailing of old women

in some forgotten chant…

We have savoured the breath of fruit-tree passes

of smoke spiralling through thatch

and the tang of murus

and the warm smell of ground-dwellers

with clear eyes and loins of grass

and thanked the stocky proud pilgrim

for his apinoon tripela

and his curious mirth

at our walkabout rucksacks

in the land of jeeps…

We have huddled around your smoky fire

people of Tomba

and listened to your stories

sung with your children

and ridden to Wapenamunda

with the arrows of your little war

the empty whisky bottles

and the unstrung bows of your defeat…

We have drunk from the Snake

swayed across the Baiyer on bamboo and vine

rushed in a precarious chain down brown rapids

and made love to the full-throated roar of the big falls…

We have rested on the sand at dawn

and watched islands like black pebbles

on a silver sheet

fade into a purple evening

and seen graceful lakatois

slide through a golden dream morning

tramped steamy jungles

with their miasmal menace

and glimpses of Eden

and tasted the bitter trance of billinat

and soapy kaukau

from the stockades of green mounds and bent women

and men like mountains

with old-testament beards.

Perhaps Christ was a Chimbu?

and eternal Sunday afternoons…

Perhaps my wantoks

should burrow back into hillsides

and crouch on rocks as night falls

and maski away the fevers of our times…

We well remember a boy

who still plays his plut like some weather-beaten Pan

a craggy little man who makes war with his bulging eyes

a chattering monkey-fellow with a big heart

a beaming Chimbu who danced like a dervish

a Buang with a laugh like thunder

a Paramount Luluai who still spoke wilhelmisch deutsch

and smoked like a volcano

and Liklik with tin whistle and a cheeky grin

a tall intense young man from Samurai who talked olotaim politics

a wiry Papuan with holes in his ears who danced like a snake

and the music makers with their Motu ballads and big guitars…

From the catacombs of our ant-heap cities we will return

to the big country with its sun-people

and vagabonds of the Dreamtime…


Pete’s note: And he did in 1984 after independence. This was his first poem and overlong but Vision Poetry Magazine liked it enough to publish it in July 1970 alongside poems by James McCauley, Judith Wright, Charles Harpur and Kenneth Slessor. His long voyage as a journeyman poet had begun. This year he also won second prize in the national Captain Cook Bicentenary Poetry Competition.




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