Cushie Doo – Fiona Ritchie Walker

He used to call me cushie doo,
his homing bird that never flew,
now perched in our love nest he says we’re through.

I suspect foul play with some fast cuckoo,
a cockatoo, hoopoe or pond-stinking smew
that flew in his path with some billet-doux.

He’ll come back I know in a week or two, wings clipped,
saying turtle dove, I love you. How can you resist
my cock-a-doodle-do? But I do.


I first met Julia at a writing workshop she was leading in the early 1990s. There was a venue mix-up, so we ended up in the children’s section of the library, perched on tiny plastic seats, our knees like mountains – but she soon had us all writing.

This poem always reminds me of Julia and only made it past the first draft because of her encouragement. Whenever I read it, I remember her throwing back her head and laughing.

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