The White Cockatoo [poem by C. J. Dennis]

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

The White Cockatoo

They count me but a common bird,
Unworthy of respect,
Who see me chained, with mien absurd
Striving to croak some alien word
Of some strange dialect;
A captive robbed of freedom’s right,
To be a clown for man’s delight.

But where, in blue skies, wild and free,
My gleaming cohorts go,
Screaming in joyous ecstasy,
To settle on some withered tree
Like sudden failing snow,
Or great white blossoms heaven sent —
Here am I in my element.

Come, seek me then to be a clown
For man’s divertisement!
For as the great flock settles down
To raid your fields by bush or town,
High is my sentry sent
To watch from out the topmost tree
With keen, unwinking scrutiny.

Now, let the smallest sign denote
Some threat of danger nigh,
And sudden, from a screaming throat
He sounds his warning trumpet note.
His golden crest held high,
And we are gone, like drifting snow,
Shrieking derision as we go.

C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 127-128

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