The Pallid Cuckoo [poem by C. J. Dennis]

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

The Pallid Cuckoo

Dolefully and drearily
Come I with the spring;
Wearily and eerily
My threnody I sing.
Hear my drear, discordant note
Sobbing, sobbing in my throat,
Weaving, wailing thro’ the wattles
Where the builders are a-wing.

Outcast and ostracized,
Miserable me!
By the feathered world despised,
Chased from tree to tree.
Nought to do the summer thro’,
My woeful weird a dree;
Singing, “Pity, ah, pity,
Miserable me!”

I’m the menace and the warning,
Loafing, labour-shy.
In the harmony of morning
Out of tune am I —
Out of tune and out of work,
Meanly ’mid the leaves I lurk,
Fretfully to sing my sorrow,
Furtively to spy.

Outcast and desolate,
Miserable me!
Earning ever scorn and hate
For my treachery.
Shiftless drone, I grieve alone,
To a mournful key
Singing, “Sorrow, ah, sorrow!
Miserable me!”

C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 43-44

Editor’s notes:
drear = dismal, dreary, or gloomy

dree = to endure

’mid = an abbreviation of “amid” or “amidst”: of or in the middle of an area, group, position, etc.

nought = (an alternative spelling of “naught”) nothing; zero; failure, without result; lost, ruined (older meanings are: ruined, useless, worthless; morally bad, wicked)

threnody = a lament; a song, hymn, or poem expressing lamentation or sorrow for the dead

weird = destiny, fate; pertaining to destiny or fate; abnormal, odd, strange

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