The Kookaburra.

I was sitting in my shanty, playing Patience penny-ante,

and owing myself a fortune, which I knew I'd never pay;

and my thoughts were of Lenore whom I'd met once in a store.

She had punched me in the jaw, when I stood there in her way,

thinking phrases I could say.


When a man's alone all year his very voice may stick for fear,

and a few small swigs of beer had me queer and far from jolly;

and my mouth seems slightly sore as I feel that hard south-paw,

for she chose to ignore all my prefatory shilly-shally,

and I could not even tell her as she decked me mith her Molly,

she had walked off with my trolley.


Now I'm back here on the fence, and my mind is kind of tense

as I look for a red Jack to lay the ten on, which is black.

One I silently adore who once laid me on the floor,

and I sit here lost in awe, though nevermore did she come back

- she woke up, and left my trolley, as she, blushing, hit the track.

At nights I toss insomniac.


I had not put on the billy; it stood still there, black and chilly,

and my sausages upon the plate were lying raw.

With a roaring, like a Stuka, suddenly there came a Kooka-

burra soaring, drawing sunlight through the open door,

took a sausage, and then grasping, clasping tightly with its claw,

dashed its brains out on the floor.


As my sausage lay there still, the aggressor seized his kill,

and devoured it on the door, which still stood there half-ajar.

In my ears I heard a roar, and I stumbled up and swore,

for I had but one snag more, and some peanuts in a jar.

"A joke's a joke," I said, "but you have gone too far!"

said the Kooka, "Ha, ha ha!"


As I stood I slightly stumbled, and the table surface crumbled,

and I tumbled on the floor, where I cracked a vertebra.

And the plate with my last banger fell with eardrum-splitting clangour,

and the parrots sang of danger in the treetops near and far.

Then in total lack of feeling for my unfortunate faux pas,

said the Kooka, "Ha, ha, ha!"


Now the lonely mind creates, all the better when it hates,

and I rose to lofty heights in inventing new anathema.

With my hunger as a warrant I produced a scalding torrent

of images abhorrent, that should smoulder, maim and scar.

Not without some learning had my reading ranged afar.

Said the Kooka, "Ha, ha, ha!"


This merry interloper sat there like a sound kaleido-

scope, and I soon began to plan for a little coup d'etat.

"Fiend from Hell, or curse from Heaven, you may end up in my oven,

making even all the havoc in my haven done so far!

You may even make my evening meal a little less bourgeois."

Said the Kooka, "Ha, ha, ha!"


Then my resolution faded as he easily evaded

all my efforts in a silly hopeless game of hide-and-seek.

I rinsed my evening meal (which he also tried to steal),

and I soon began to feel I might turn the other cheek.

I was softened by the charm of his bearing mild and meek

- and his rather savage beak.


While my sausage was digesting, with a drink I soon was resting,

and I told my questing friend of my love for lost Lenore.

It may not have seemed much, but that solitary touch

was the fantasising crutch of my brain for evermore.

Thus I talked and talked so much that I feared to be a bore,

but he laughed just as before.


"You're right, smart bird! I must learn to laugh at what's occurred!

Our little tete-a-tete has cut my woes to less than half.

An obsession is a poison. I must widen my horizon,

let my reason lead me rising to whatever perfumes waft

from the ranges of my reading as the winds bear them aloft."

And again my roommate laughed.


I was bearing the full burden of the talk, for ne'er a word in

did that bird inject of "Pardon, but I have to travel far.."

And I told him that old joke about the curly-headed bloke

who never even spoke as he was knocked down by a car;

which had never raised a smile in the Tumbarumba bar,

but the Kooka said, "Ha, ha!"


So I told him chestnuts hoary, and invented many a story

when my mind forgot the ending of the version that I knew.

And in days that came to pass, as my horse trudged through the grass,

he would flutter by me close, and unfriendly snakes subdue.

And I told him all my fantasies as by my head he flew

in that endless sky of blue.


History, and fate, and the drongos who forgot to shut the gate,

are among the list of topics that we have long discussed.

A simple twist of fate has discovered me a mate.

A half-share in my plate has bought the bird's eternal trust.

Though the story I am telling may be stale and dry as dust

he is laughing fit to bust.



Now my neighbour, Stumpy Joe, who lives ninety-eight or so

kilometres up the track, which is really just next door,

I know he'll soon be ravin', for for years he's been to savin';

the companion he's been cravin' he at last bought from a store

- bought from Happy Harry's Haven, Pets and Feathered Friendship Store."

- and his crow can just say "Caw."