I am the cunning one. My shrewd white eye,
Peeping from out some hidden harbour green,
Watches your household. Patiently I spy
Until I learn by heart its whole routine.
I witness, with sagacity profound,
Comings and goings in your daily round.
And what they mean.
I know what hour each morn the fowls are fed
When laurel berries ripen, too, I know.
I know when you’ll come out to scatter bread
For wren and robin twittering below,
Where roses blow.
When you take tea upon the lawn, I’m there
Waiting the quiet hour; then forth I dare
To glean my share.
I am the cunning one. I know too well
Base human treacheries. Not over shy,
I am too wise to fall beneath the spell
Of pretty blandishments. My shrewd white eye
Has told me why.
A friendliness, too easily begun,
Might, thro’ my pilferings, find me undone —
The cunning one.
C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 163-164
glean = gather carefully, slowly, laboriously; gather in a gradual manner, bit by bit, piece by piece; gather remnant grains after crop harvesting has been carried out; obtain information in a gradual manner, especially with some difficulty
morn = morning
pilfer = steal something of small value; steal something small; steal a small amount