Edward George Dyson
The Emu Of Whroo - Poem by Edward George Dyson
WE’VE a tale to tell you of a spavined emit,
A bird with a smile like a crack in a hat,
Who was owned by M‘Cue, of the township of Whroo,
The county of Rodney—his front name was Pat.
The bird was a dandy, although a bit bandy,
Her knees, too, were queer and her neck out of gauge—
She’d eat what was handy, from crowbars to candy,
Was tall, too, and tough for a chick of her age.
But her taste and her height, and her figure and smile,
Were the smallest potatoes compared with her guile.
M‘Cue’s bird had a name, Arabella that same—
A name that was given by Pat, we may say,
To the memory and fame of a red-headed flame,
Because, as he said, ‘she wuz builded that way.’
The bird Arabella let nothing compel her,
Her temper was bad when disturbed, as a rule.
She’d rupture the smeller of any young ‘feller’
Who teased, with a kick that would honor a mule.
And the boys and the girls who were then living near
Were all minus an eye—those with luck had one ear.
The emu with her smile would the new-chum beguile
To step up and study the great, gawky bird,
And then let out in style, and she’d hoist him a mile—
The sound of his wailing would never be heard.
At which she’d look stately, and mild, and sedately,
And seem to be steeped in some deep inward woe,
Or wondering greatly what happened there lately
That people found need to go tearing round so.
P. M‘Cue overlooked his long bird’s little craze,
He declared it was only her emusing ways.
Is it strange that in time these outrages should prime
The neighbours with ire and profanity dread?
And at every crime, with good reason and rhyme,
They’d bombard the bird with old iron and lead;
Their weapons would whistle by Bella and hiss ill,
The bird only smiled as they yearned for her gore;
They wasted their gristle, she ate up each missile,
And placidly looked on and waited for more,
Her digestion not stones nor old nails could upset,
So it’s strange that the men disagreed with the pet.
The late Mr. M‘Cue, of the township of Whroo,
Would hear no complaints of his biped absurd,
And with little ado put the biggest man through
Who’d lay ’e’er a finger on Bella, the bird.
If father or teacher came flaunting a feature
Removed from a boy, say, an eyelid or ear,
He sooled on the preacher his feathery creature,
Or offered to fight him for money or beer.
And to shoot at this bird was but labour in vain,
She digested their slugs and she faced them again.
But M‘Cue for his care and and anxiety rare
Got meagre rewards from his camel-shanked fowl.
For when on a tear she’d uproot his back hair
And peck at his ear and snatch scraps off his jowl.
A kick from the shoulder, a shock like a boulder
That weighed half-a-ton being twisted in quick,
And Patrick was older and very near cold ere
The time he recovered that feathered mule’s kick.
At the worst he but sighed, and regretfully said
It reminded him so of his wife who was dead,
But the time came at last when anxiety cast
Its spell o’er the bird, she grew dull and deprest—
She felt glum, and she passed to hysterics as fast—
All day she sought round in sore mental unrest.
She acted like moody, hysterical Judy,
When Punch is inspired for a villainous lark;
But Paddy was shrewd—he could see she was broody
And yearned in the chick-rearing biz to embark.
The momentous importance and stress of her case.
Were quite plain in her actions and seen in her face.
She tried sitting on stones, and on brickbats and bones,
But moped all the time and supped grief to the dregs—
There was nothing in cones, and in harrowing tones
She spoke her great yearning to cultivate eggs.
One morning, day-dreaming, all glossy and gleaming
She saw the bald head of the neighbour next door;
Its round, egg-like seeming, set Bell wildly scheming
To sit on that skull or be happy no more;
And she laid for the man by the dark and the day,
And he cursed and he kicked in a terrible way.
From that day, it is said, Arabella she led
The bald-headed men who lived near a hard life;
They all held her in dread—for her manners ill-bred
M‘Cue spent his time in tempestuous strife.
With eye speculative, she cornered each native
To find if his skull would just suit her complaint;
The man’s strength was great if he saved all his pate, if
She failed to secure half his scalp in distraint.
And her owner indulged in Satanic delights,
And he egged on his bird to more furious fights.
But the downfall of spite and the triumph of right
Are bound to come round, fight we ever so hard;
On one March morning bright, Old M‘Cue very tight,
Returned to his home and dossed down in the yard.
He’d not long been sleeping when Bella came peeping
And viewed with delight his bare head, like a cast,
And into her keeping she raked it, and heaping
Her ribs on the skull she was happy at last.
And she sat till the day and the night both were gone,
And the next day and next was she still sitting on.
It was thought Pat had fled, and a week or more sped
E’er folks came to search, and they found for their pains
P. M‘Cue lying dead with the bird on his head
Still stolidly striving to hatch out some brains.
No priest at Pat’s croaking, by blessings invoking,
Had served to make easy the poor sinner’s death.
Some folks blamed his soaking, the jury said ‘choking’?
The bird was found guilty of stopping his breath,
And for peace, and for quiet, and morality’s sake
She was killed with a slab from a Cousin Jack's cake.
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