Saturday, 21 January 2017

An Australian Day Poem - Marsupial Pride

They came from every corner, from the north amongst the palms,
They came from in the middle where the sands replace the farms.
There were some who came from coastal plains, where oceans grind the land.
Or way down deep within the ground below where most would stand.

They were coming for a meeting, a marsupial call to war,
And only native animals could help create their law.
The fences stringing through the land divided up their ground,
And growing mobs were left without the room to bound around.
So they sent along their leaders to represent each group,
A furry, feathered, native, marsupial, Aussie soup.

And they argued long and hard over every last complaint,
To try and find solutions, to please without constraint.
A furry little bunny bobbed along to join the crowd,
But the native Aussie true bloods with one voice shouted loud,
“You’re not an Aussie, ‘Hoppy’; you’re not a native here,
You don’t get to have a say, now kindly disappear.”

So the little furry bunny hipped and hopped off on his way,
And the full blood Aussie icons argued on throughout the day.
But those fences making patchwork of the famous sun burnt plains,
Couldn’t be prevented and acted just like chains.

The fat Koala up above decided he would sleep,
The possum with the curly tail he found a well lit street.
The emu standing proud on arms, was left to fade away,
And his mate the mighty kangaroo would also have his day.
The wombat and the bandicoot just hid behind the scrub,
While the dingo and the wallaby began to push and shove.
The magpie and the kookaburra laughed and took to air,
The fence below, not their concern, they didn’t really care.
Then the rest of those all proud true blue, slowly left the summit,
And for years ahead, like passing time, their numbers all would plummet.

The platypus was rare to find, the tiger gone forever,
That famous meeting, long ago, the last one all together.
And when koala bear awoke, from sleeping far above,
He found his own kind almost gone, along with those he loved.
So he called on burra’s laugh to bring the arms to meet,
The kangaroo and emu came and argued at his feet.

They didn’t care about the health of true blue Aussie friends.
They only wanted to go back to distant southern trends.
The wise koala argued hard, “Those days are all long gone,
A new and different time has come and looking back is wrong.”
The arms that stand proud face to face weren’t ready to give in,
“Australia is what it is; to change would be a sin!”

The big red roo with thumping tail, bounded fast away,
His mind was set and wouldn’t change, as sunset found the day.
He bounded fast across the field to reach his loving mob,
But in dim light, vision fades and barbs his life did rob.

When old man emu heard the news that big red died that night,
It sent him into deepest thought, his instinct fight or flight.

He stood alone and watched the days that come and go with time,
He watched the quoll, the skink and bat and sensed the coming crime,
The potaroo and piping shrike, the kinkajou and rat,
He called upon the lyrebird to come and have a chat.

He asked and sat and listened clear, as liar told him tales,
Of mobile phones and distant roars and funny facebook fails,
The emu with his feet so firm could see where they’d gone wrong,
Their foolishness to block and fear the growing foreign throng.
He walked and ran and travelled far to ask the hare to tell,
How they would use the wide brown land and seem to fare so well?
They came in late and weren’t true blue, but now thrive all the same,
While the native population was clearly on the wane.
“The fences”, Mr Bunny said, as he offered sage advice,
“You need to work together and never haggle over price.
We dig the centre post and the fence is on the ground,
And then we’re well away before the jackaroo comes ‘round.

Sometimes the very least will be, the very best to use,
So be careful what you say and do and watch who you abuse.
Rabbits and hares, who really cares, as long as we get through,
We’ve used the mice, once or twice, and they’re hardly on our crew.”
The emu learnt from what he’d heard; enough to change his ways,
He came back to the oldest bloods with an awful lot to say.
“It’s no-one’s fault, nor should we blame, what’s done is best we leave,
But not to open up our ranks will give us no reprieve.”
The big red roo, the next in line, he’d seen his father fall,
Was first to change his younger mind and first to heed the call.
He counseled friends and foes alike, some enemies for years,
To leap the greatest hurdle that included all their fears.
They’d be no less Australian, if the toad and hare took part,
They’d always be their true blue selves with a bright red centered heart.

But if the new could help and stand up strong when they were needed,
How could they remain true blue if in good times they impeded?
Some anxious moments followed, true, not everyone agreed,
Some even left the meeting, but their offspring stayed to heed.
And when the forum ended, there was good will all around,
Even ringtail possum came from well inside the town.
They were going to sure their country up, this time they’d all be one,
They wouldn’t do it violently by using any gun.
They’d use the skills that each possessed and sweep across the land,
Nothing dared get in the way of a force once hand in hand.
The bunnies did what bunnies do and burrowed underground,
The magpie and the burra brought whatever could be found.
They laid it on the barbed wire fence, that now lay flat and low,
The land was theirs again to use, or just to come and go.

The lucky country kept its luck because it grew and changed,
And it’s still a lucky country with its droughts and flooding rains,
But it now has something extra that has come from far and wide,
And no longer just marsupials can swell with Aussie pride.

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