Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Animals Noah Forgot

White Cockatoos
 by Andrew Barton Paterson ('Banjo')

Now the autumn maize is growing,
Now the corn-cob fills,
Where the Little River flowing
Winds among the hills.
Over mountain peaks outlying
Clear against the blue
Comes a scout in silence flying,
One white cockatoo.

Back he goes to where the meeting
Waits among the trees.
Says, "The corn is fit for eating;
Hurry, if you please."
Skirmishers, their line extendiing,
Shout the joyful news;
Down they drop like snow descending,
Clouds of cockatoos.

At their husking competition
Hear them screech and yell.
On a gum tree's high position
Sits a sentinel.
Soon the boss goes boundary riding;
But the wise old bird,
Mute among the branches hiding,
Never says a word.
Then you hear the strident squalling:
"Here's the boss's son,
Through the garden bushes crawling,
Crawling with a gun.

May the shiny cactus bristles
Fill his soul with woe;
May his knees get full of thistles.
Brothers, let us go."
Old Black Harry sees them going,
Sketches Nature's plan:
"That one cocky too much knowing,
All same Chinaman.
One eye shut and one eye winkin' --
Never shut the two;
Chinaman go dead, me thinkin',
Jump up cockatoo."

Eeeck! We are being invaded by nature. Holiday antics in our back yard include visits from cockatoos and blue-tongue lizards.  The children, plus neighbouring children, are attempting to catch the poor lizards under an old wire freezer drawer.  I am clinging to the railings.  It reminds me of the time we had a rat.  Never were we as glad  as we were when Daddy arrived home that evening and capably dealt with the vermin.  I have an acute aversion to reptiles.  I shall only venture downstairs with a broomstick from now on.


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