Diane Hine

(25 July 1956)

A Published Poet visits Outback Poetry Club^

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:
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:
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)
“Oh yes…
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:
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:
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:

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.”

Submitted: Friday, November 22, 2013
Edited: Saturday, March 08, 2014

Topic(s): friendship

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

*Devil Facial Tumour Disease
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 ^

Comments about this poem (A Published Poet visits Outback Poetry Club^ by Diane Hine )

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  • Veteran Poet - 3,234 Points Daniel Brick (4/25/2014 10:41:00 AM)

    I was delighted while reading your allegory! It's a marvel of wit (Wit = humor + intelligence) . And yet it does - like all good allegory, fable, etc. - point out our foibles and failings, to wit, overestimation of our accomplishments. I have encountered the Cassowary figure on occasion but not too often, but the over eager amateur writer is familiar - indeed, he's inside my skin! I'm in awe of your light touch in telling this tale, and the sheer complexity of the storyline which never drags or falters in tone. I will have to go back to explore the link between titles and opinions you cite - it's another example of comic complexity. BTW Does the Klee painting show a figure getting into a boat? If so, I have seen and admired it. When Picasso was asked his opinion of Klee, he replied in a metaphor, Napoleon-Pascal. Exactly, his beautiful thoughts conquers the world! (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,550 Points Lyn Paul (12/2/2013 6:20:00 AM)

    What an amazing write Diane. You have penned this beautifully a true outback tale. thank you (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 696 Points S.zaynub Kamoonpuri (11/29/2013 11:17:00 AM)

    Woah wow diane u hav spun such a creative poem givin d animals speech n yor poetic power eh! Esp likd d wallaby lines. D tasmanian devil's extinct, ? Dats why d great exile stanza? And brilliant how u put in, 'plagiarist' eh. No one cud plagiarize dis one. Tc. Kudos (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,135 Points Valerie Dohren (11/27/2013 10:32:00 AM)

    Quite a story Diane, and an interesting and enjoyable collection of poems. Your imagination, as usual, knows no bounds. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,133 Points Dinesh Nair (11/25/2013 8:43:00 AM)

    Another write of rarity from Diane Hine the observer of things distinct yet obscure as well.
    Here is a merry making that elevates the animals and birds in our simple estimate. I have to give you a 10 for this unusual reading experience. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 6,845 Points Valsa George (11/23/2013 7:15:00 AM)

    What a forum, Diana! More lively than poem hunter! The published poet Cassowary is ready to sell his published works for two cents or berries! ! ! If we poets announce to sell our poems, we are likely to get brick bats! !

    What lively recital of poems by all these animals and birds! I remember to have read a similar poem by you earlier! Only your brain can concieve of of such phantasmagoria! A 10 for this interesting write! (Report) Reply

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