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White Cockatoos

Andrew Barton Paterson 1864 (Orange, New South Wales) – 1941 (Sydney, New South Wales)



Now the autumn maize is growing,
Now the corn-cob fills,
Where the Little River flowing
Winds among the hills.
Over mountain peaks outlying
Clear against the blue
Comes a scout in silence flying,
One white cockatoo.
Back he goes to where the meeting
Waits among the trees.
Says, "The corn is fit for eating;
Hurry, if you please."
Skirmishers, their line extendiing,
Shout the joyful news;
Down they drop like snow descending,
Clouds of cockatoos.

At their husking competition
Hear them screech and yell.
On a gum tree's high position
Sits a sentinel.
Soon the boss goes boundary riding;
But the wise old bird,
Mute among the branches hiding,
Never says a word.

Then you hear the strident squalling:
"Here's the boss's son,
Through the garden bushes crawling,
Crawling with a gun.
May the shiny cactus bristles
Fill his soul with woe;
May his knees get full of thistles.
Brothers, let us go."

Old Black Harry sees them going,
Sketches Nature's plan:
"That one cocky too much knowing,
All same Chinaman.
One eye shut and one eye winkin' --
Never shut the two;
Chinaman go dead, me thinkin',
Jump up cockatoo."

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Andrew Barton Paterson

Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson, was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales, where he spent much of his childhood. Paterson's more notable poems include "Clancy of the Overflow" (1889), "The Man from Snowy River" (1890) and "Waltzing Matilda" (1895), regarded widely as Australia's unofficial national anthem. more…

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