The Crow (Australian Raven) [poem by C. J. Dennis]

[Editor: This poem by C. J. Dennis was published in The Singing Garden (1935).]

The Crow (Australian Raven)

A low-living fellow, I haven’t a friend;
My heart, like my habit, is black;
My nature is “yellow”; my greed has no end,
And every virtue I lack.
The aerial gangster, the bird racketeer
Wherever I go follows frenzy and fear;
But I flap on my way with a curse and a sneer
To bluster and bully and sack.

My methods are savage. I come with my mob
To harry the helpless and weak,
To rend and to ravage, to murder and rob,
And my ways are the ways of a sneak.
No meat is amiss to my cavernous maw;
I kidnap the nestlings; I bow to no law;
Then I’m off on my way with a sinister caw
Or an egg at the end of my beak.

I’m cautious and cunning and gruesome and grim;
For what I can’t slaughter I maim.
But if you come gunning your chances are slim,
For I know every trick of the game.
My signals are many, my sentries alert;
Bird-shot or abuses do me little hurt;
And, like every gangster, my gifts I pervert.
In short, I’m a fowl of ill-fame.

C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 171-172

Editor’s notes:
mob = generally “mob” refers to a large group of animals, commonly used when referring to cattle, horses, kangaroos, or sheep; also used to refer to a group of people, sometimes – although definitely not always – used in a negative or derogatory sense (possibly as an allusion to a group of dumb or wild animals), but also used in a positive sense (e.g. “they’re my mob”), especially amongst Aborigines

yellow = cowardly; cowardice

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