A Published Poet Visits Outback Poetry Club^ - Poem by Diane Hine
Koala sat in a leafless tree. She looked dusty and
flustered. “Friends, please make welcome Cassowary,
who has kindly agreed to listen to our poems tonight.
Later he’ll sign copies of his book ‘I Don’t Get It’
which costs two cents. He accepts cash or berries.
Does anyone have any questions before we begin? ”
“Do you have any real money? ” someone asked.
Cassowary tipped brown coins onto a tree stump.
There was a collective appreciative gasp.
“Can we touch them, ” asked the poets.
Cassowary glared, “Certainly not! ”
“Can we smell them? ”
“Can we lick them then? ”
“Oh alright if you must.”
Several poets licked the coins
and agreed that money must be an acquired taste.
Koala cleared her throat, “We have five
poems tonight, shall we begin? ”
Corella raised a white wing, “I dedicate my poem to Rosella:
- SOBER GNARL-
Astride an old gum’s sober gnarl
we sipped fermented sap.
We sang and danced like bacchanals
and then we took a nap.”
Bandicoot scrambled onto a log to squeak:
“ -THE RED BEAR-
A willy-willy spun red sand
and scoured a gum tree bare
and where Koala fatly sat
now sits a red Dropbear.”
The animals glanced at Koala. She maintained her composure.
Kangaroo presented ‘a poetic travelogue’:
Tuesdays we go bouncing
Summer we did spring
Midday we took a nap
(“Saturday, ” prompted Wallaby)
Saturday we hopped
Later we were sprung.”
There was a very long pause.
Everyone looked expectantly at Kangaroo
who began to look very uncomfortable.
“He’s finished, ” said Wallaby helpfully.
“Plagiarist, ” grumbled Corella.
Ibis perched on a branch overhanging the billabong to recite:
“ -KLEE’S SHADE-
I met a Bunyip yesterday
who told me in a boast,
his portrait hung as Paul Klee’s shade
‘Departure of the Ghost’.”
Tasmanian Devil related a sad tale of exile in a harrowing voice:
“ -PURE ISLE-
The Mainland is a fly-blown dump
I miss the pure green isle.
But since my mates back home have lumps*
I’ll stick here for a while.”
“Whose poem was best? Was it Kangaroo’s? ” asked
Wallaby hopping up and down in front of Cassowary.
“Wait, it seems we have a sixth poem, ” announced Koala.
“Whose is it? ”
“Mine, it’s called er….
Fatuity is caused by lack
of fibre in the diet.
The remedy’s a gum bark snack
and Bandicoot should try it.”
The animals glanced at Bandicoot. She maintained her composure.
“Cassowary, we’d be honoured if you would critique our poems
and judge their relative merits. How would you rank them? ”
“Rank? ” boomed Cassowary, “yes definitely. What can I say?
The best were so banal and clichéd. If you want me to rate
the rest, I’d have to say trite, threadbare, mundane and puerile.'
“You little beauty! ” squawked Corella.
Tasmanian Devil started wailing. The noise was excruciating.
Ibis muttered, “Cassowary is a fraud.”
“What makes you say that? ” asked Wombat.
“He mispronounced Paul Klee’s surname and his coins are defunct.”
“Cassowary will now read the title poem from his new book, ” said Koala.
Cassowary leapt onto the tree stump crunching one and two cent
coins underclaw. He had the deepest voice they’d ever heard:
“ -I DON’T GET IT-
Sure I get it, I said to Lark
You’re the Cinderella dinosaur
But who are the top bananas now?
They’re apes Lark – Apes!
You gotta lose those wings to fly Lark
The future is grounded – it’s solid bone and muscle
You’re pretty Lark but they’ll cage you in
You have to learn to kick back
If any ape gets in my way I won’t sing to it
I’ll gut it
Ditch the wings Lark, that’s my advice
…I stopped to draw breath
and Lark said ‘I don’t get it’
No Lark, I didn’t think you would.”
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Klee is pronounced ‘clay’ (I think)
Hint - there's a link between the individual poem titles and Cassowary's opinion of them.
Poems in this series are marked with a ^
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