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Andrew Barton Paterson (Эндрю Бартон Патерсон)

An Emu Hunt

West of Dubbo the west begins 
The land of leisure and hope and trust, 
Where the black man stalks with his dogs and gins 
And Nature visits the settlers’ sins 
With the Bogan shower, that is mostly dust. 
When the roley-poley’s roots dry out 
With the fierce hot winds and the want of rain, 
They come uprooted and bound about 
And dance in a wild fantastic rout 
Like flying haystacks across the plain. 

And the horses shudder and snort and shift 
As the bounding mass of weeds goes past, 
But the emus never their heads uplift 
As they look for roots in the sandy drift, 
For the emus know it from first to last. 

Now, the boss’s dog that had come from town 
Was strange to the wild and woolly west, 
And he thought he would earn him some great renown 
When he saw, on the wastes of the open down, 
An emu standing beside her nest. 

And he said to himself as he stalked his prey 
To start on his first great emu hunt, 
”I must show some speed when she runs away, 
For emus kick very hard, they say; 
But I can’t be kicked if I keep in front.” 

The emu chickens made haste to flee 
As he barked and he snarled and he darted around, 
But the emu looked at him scornfully 
And put an end to his warlike glee 
With a kick that lifted him off the ground. 

And when, with an injured rib or two, 
He made for home with a chastened mind, 
An old dog told him, ”I thought you knew 
An emu kicks like a kangaroo, 
And you can’t get hurt -- if you keep behind.”

Andrew Barton Paterson's other poems:
  1. On Kiley's Run
  2. The Rum Parade
  3. The Man from Snowy River
  4. A Singer of the Bush
  5. The Fitzroy Blacksmith

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