White Cockatoos by Kathleen Dalziel

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The ringbarked gum on the flat below 
Is burdened with blossoms of living snow; 
Bare as a bone 
It stood alone, 
Flowerless, till five minutes ago. 

The breeze that was all the day retelling 
The news that the first cuckoo was spelling 
Carefully over 
The paddocks of clover 
Is suddenly rent with a raucous yelling. 

The purring river forgets to purr, 
The rushes lash and the reedbeds stir, 
The mood of the flat 
Is like that of a cat 
Suddenly roughed the wrong way of its fur. 

It must be important, the way they shout; 
It may be a secret, though this I doubt. 
Will deafness fall 
On one and all? 
What are the cockatoos screaming about? 

Then suddenly, as at the word of "go," 
Over the rise they flap and flow. 
Slip from the branches 
Like avalanches 
Of some impossible summer snow.

First published in The Bulletin, 5 October 1955

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 5, 2014 7:22 AM.

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