The Poetry Corner

Fur And Feathers

By Banjo Paterson (Andrew Barton)

The emus formed a football team Up Walgett way; Their dark-brown sweaters were a dream But kangaroos would sit and scream To watch them play. "Now, butterfingers," they would call, And suck-like names; The emus couldn't hold the ball They had no hands, but hands aren't all In football games. A match against the kangaroos They played one day. The kangaroos were forced to choose Some wallabies and wallaroos That played in grey. The rules that in the west prevail Would shock the town; For when a kangaroo set sail An emu jumped upon his tail And fetched him down. A whistler duck as referee Was not admired. He whistled so incessantly The teams rebelled, and up a tree He soon retired. The old marsupial captain said, "It's do or die!" So down the ground like fire he fled And leaped above an emu's head And scored a try. Then shouting, "Keep it on the toes!" The emus came. Fierce as the flooded Bogan flows They laid their foemen out in rows And saved the game. In native bear and Darling pea They dined that night: But one man was an absentee: The whistler duck, their referee, Had taken flight.