Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

(7 September 1876 - 22 June 1938 / Auburn, South Australia)

'The Wonga Pigeon' - Poem by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Men knew and loved my calling in old days
Days ere a bitter wisdom taught me fear.
Trusting and unafraid, I went my ways
By many a crude hut of the pioneer;
Calling by paths where lonely axemen strode,
By new-cleared farmland yet to know the plough;
Calling by deep sled-track and bullock road . . .
But where today man builds his last abode
Few hear my calling now.

Too trusting. When they found my flesh was sweet
Was sweet and white and succulent withal
What mattered beauty? I was good to eat!
Then trust was my undoing; and my call
A summons to men's hunger and the chase
A tame, ignoble chase with me the prey
Till far into some secret forest place
I fled, with that poor remant of my race
I hiding here today.

And only by lost paths o'ergrown with fern
By old, abandoned tracks in scrubs remote
You may, by chance, around a sudden turn,
Win some brief, fleeting glance of my grey coat.
Then, with a swift wing-clapping, I am hence;
Or, crouching down, ingenuously seek
To merge my colors with the brush-wood dense
And trick the spoiler, with the vain defence
Of earth's harried meek.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 30, 2012

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