The Tree Creeper [poem by C. J. Dennis]

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

The Tree Creeper

My family holds many kinds:
The red, the white of brow, the brown;
And each a life’s employment finds
Where rugged gum-trees lift a crown
Up to the kind, life-giving sun
And here live I, the prying one.

Round and round the trunk I go,
Ever upward, round and round,
While my long, prehensile toe
Gives me foothold safe and sound.
To the ragged bark I cling;
A merry forager am I:
I sing and search and search and sing,
And in the crannies peep and pry.

“Woodpecker” some would have me styled:
But well they know, the gum-trees tall,
That my assaults are passing mild
And most beneficent withal.
To hunt the “wog” is my affair,
To sing awhile, then softly steal
And drag him from his darksome lair
To be a merry songster’s meal.

So round and round the tree I go,
Round and round and ever up
And many a secret place I know
Where I may royally dine or sup.
From tree to tree, from dawn to dark,
I sing and search and search and sing,
About the ragged storm-scarred bark
To make a merry banqueting.

C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 89-90

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