Diane Hine (25 July 1956)
The Earth’s spin broke the sun’s hot siege.
The billabong’s parched surrounds exhaled.
Coolabahs rattled dusty leaves
and friends arrived on well-worn trails.
In chitin, feathers, fur or scales,
some hopped or flapped; some scratched or slunk.
They came to fill an hour with tales
beside old Ironbark’s steadfast trunk.
That night, at ‘Outback Poetry Club’
animal friends shared poems or prose
and last to speak, in throaty thunks
was Emu with his poem: ‘Arose’
“Mt Kosciusko’s peak arose
sometime. That weighed a teraton.
It snows! It snows! It snows! It snows!
because it’s closer to the sun.”
Rosella had a greenish thumb
and asked if roses thrived up there.
Emu judged the question dumb
but feigned a noncommittal air.
Wombat said “I’ll not split hairs,
but what is ‘it’ that snows? What’s ‘it’? ”
Emu judged this question fair.
He didn’t know, but wouldn’t admit.
A titter slipped Koala’s lips
as if they’d shared a private joke.
Koala was a flirty thing
but he was not that kind of bloke.
Corella scowled as if provoked.
In half-moon light he glowed snow-white.
He raised his feathered crest and spoke,
“Hey big bird, looking for a fight”?
Inspector Numbat narrowed his eyes
as if the rhyme might hold the key
to help him find a hidden crime
which must be buried very deep.
Kangaroo said, “When I leap
extremely high I get quite hot,
so why is Mt Kosciusko’s peak,
so close to the sun, a chilly spot”?
Redback tied herself in knots
to link the peak with Emu’s beak.
Emu thought she’d lost the plot.
He smiled enigmatically.
“Ah! ” Goanna hissed, “I see.
Its nose! Its nose! It’s Emu’s nose.”
Cicadas snickered, “Zhee, zhee, zhee”,
but Dingo dropped off comatose.
“A teraton of time slow flows”,
said Ibis. “Time’s a muddy stream.
Who knows how time comes or goes?
Perhaps it’s just a Bunyip’s dream”.
“Wow! ” said Wallaby. Emu beamed.
Their views were varied and profuse.
As evening closed, they all agreed
that Emu’s poem was most abstruse.
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