If Shakespeare Chose the Outback
“Gotta’ ‘git’ ‘im!” Followed the howl of death.
His cigarette burnt brighter, when he sucked another breath.
“Will I get the gun and spotlight?” I asked rising from my chair.
“Nar’, no sense!” the ‘old man’ said. “He could be anywhere.”
“Tomorrer’ son I wan’cha, to shoot a ‘joey’ ‘roo.
I’ll lace ‘im up an’ spread ‘im ‘round. It’s all that I c’n do
to rid us of that murd’rin’ devil, ‘oos been hangin’ ‘round again.
Strychnine baits'll clean ‘im up. Just keep ‘Gypsy’ on the chain.”
Kangaroos are vermin, worthless pests before me gun.
In me sights a little ‘flyer’, went tumbling on the run.
“A little beauty fit to eat!” That’s what the ‘old man’ said,
before he cut and laced the meat, inside our old tin shed.
I left Dad alone to do that job, ‘cause strychnine frightens me,
since the kid from just next door, got into some you see,
by the time the ‘doc’ arrived, the lot of us all knew,
the kid was dead and died in pain; his lips and face were blue.
Dad said he laid the baits all right. Tonight’s the killers last,
by morning we were celebrating, then I looked in aghast
through the window where I saw, a vision filled with pain,
there is no sign of ‘Gypsy’, just the remnants of her chain.
Through morning sun and mallee scrub, across the saltbush plain,
from on the back of my horse ‘Ned’, I’m calling out in vain.
Dad said while I was on the search, he’d retrieve the ‘roo,
when I got home at sunset, further anguish quickly grew.
“The news ain’t good” Dad said to me; he gave me hopes a jog.
“One o’ the baits is missin’, ‘n the prints look like a dog.
It shoulda’ killed ‘im instantly. I didn't find the howlin’ cur,
it might be ‘im ‘oo took the bait. We c’n only ‘ope it were.”
A week of search went quickly by; our hearts were heavy when,
hopes were dashed and tears returned. We heard the howls again.
“Well it ain’t ‘im ‘oo got the bait, Dad’s resigned now to fate,
then in the darkness there’s a bark. ‘Gypsy’s bounding through the gate.
And weren't she pleased to see us; a miracle comes true.
With formalities all over, Dad grimaced ‘cause he knew,
the reason for her leaving, and the nightly howling treat,
a tale akin to Romeo and Juliet, for ‘Gypsy’ was on heat.
‘Gypsy’ never roamed again. She lazed around the yard.
“Deep in pup,” Dad said she was, she’s happy just to guard
the back door to the homestead gate … then chose the caravan,
to whelp her kelpie crossbreeds, ‘Gypsy’ blue and dingo tan.
Copyright © Lindsay Laurie | Year Posted 2015
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