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Camouflage

Written by: Andrew Barton Paterson | Biography
 | Quotes (1) |
 Beside the bare and beaten track of travelling flocks and herds 
The woodpecker went tapping on, the postman of the birds, 
"I've got a letter here," he said, "that no one's understood, 
Addressed as follows: 'To the bird that's like a piece of wood.' 
"The soldier bird got very cross -- it wasn't meant for her; 
The spurwing plover had a try to stab me with a spur: 
The jackass laughed, and said the thing was written for a lark. 
I think I'll chuck this postman job and take to stripping bark." 

Then all the birds for miles around came in to lend a hand; 
They perched upon a broken limb as thick as they could stand, 
And just as old man eaglehawk prepared to have his say 
A portion of the broken limb got up and flew away. 

Then, casting grammar to the winds, the postman said, "That's him! 
The boobook owl -- he squats himself along a broken limb, 
And pokes his beak up like a stick; there's not a bird, I vow, 
Can tell you which is boobook owl and which is broken bough. 

"And that's the thing he calls his nest -- that jerry-built affair -- 
A bunch of sticks across a fork; I'll leave his letter there. 
A cuckoo wouldn't use his nest, but what's the odds to him -- 
A bird that tries to imitate a piece of leaning limb!"



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