The Lyretail [poem by C. J. Dennis]

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

The Lyretail

Far in the forest depths I dwell,
The master mimic of them all,
To pour from out my secret dell
Echo of many a bushland call,
That over all the forest spills;
Echo of many a birdland note,
When out about the timbered hills
Sounds all that borrowed lore that fills
My magic throat.

I am the artist. Songs to me
From all this gay green land are sped;
And when the wondrous canopy
Of my great, fronded tail is spread —
A glorious veil, at even’s hush —
Above my head, I do my part;
Then wren and robin, finch and thrush —
All are re-echoed in a rush
Of perfect art.

Here by my regal throne of state,
To serve me for a swift retreat,
The little runways radiate;
And when the tread of alien feet
Draws near I vanish: ever prone
To quick alarm when aught offends
That secret ritual of the throne.
My songs are for my mate alone,
And favoured friends.

I am the artist. None may find,
In all the world, a match for me:
Rare feathered loveliness combined
With such enchanting minstrelsy.
In a land vocal with gay song
I choose whate’er I may require;
I wait, I listen all day long,
Then to the music of a throng
I tune my lyre.



Source:
C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 97-98

Editor’s notes:
aught = anything; anything at all, anything whatsoever

gay = happy, joyous, carefree (may also mean well-decorated, bright, attractive) (in modern times it may especially refer to a homosexual, especially a male homosexual; may also refer to something which is no good, pathetic, useless)

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