The Wattle Bird [poem by C. J. Dennis]

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

The Wattle Bird

Where the blossom glows I follow,
Sipping nectar as I go.
Timbered hill and wooded hollow,
Shore and scrub-land, these I know;
Following the floral river
Flowing down a scented land,
Voyage I, where the Great Giver
Strews His gifts on every hand.

Where my honey-sipping cousins
Fill the day with melody —
Tho’ I count them in their dozens —
Song, alas, is not for me.
But, these meeker minstrels scorning,
Rather am I prone to brag;
To the chorus of the morning
Shouting, “Quock! Up with the rag!”

These my cousins, pert or gracious,
Trim or tuneful, claim all man’s
Admiration; I, pugnacious
King of honey-eating clans,
Ever bragging, ever brawling,
Seem to flaunt the bully’s air;
While my rough, discordant calling
Matches ill my dainty fare.

Yet, by wooded hill and hollow,
He, the Giver, knows full well —
As His bounteous way I follow —
All a grateful heart would tell.
Where the floral stream, o’erflowing
Banksia boughs and wattle banks,
Spills its beauty, song not knowing,
Pour I forth my raucous thanks.

C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 33-34

Editor’s notes:
Giver = in a religious context, and capitalized, a reference to God

Great Giver = in a religious context, and capitalized, a reference to God

pugnacious = quick to argue, fight, or quarrel; readiness or desire to argue or engage in violence; forcefully expressing an argument or opinion; inclined to be belligerent

Old spelling in the original text:
o’erflowing (overflowing)

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