Kangaroos – The 100 Days Project: Day 87 [14]

Two Poems by John Watson

Photo: Ray Drew

First Encounter

 

August 14, 1770.  James Cook’s

progress arrested for 5 weeks

while H M S Endeavour

is beached at Endeavour River

in dispiriting tropical rain

for repairs to damage from the Reef.

One day, seeming beyond belief,

in full sun a Kangooroo or Kangaru

with unswerving intention and charm

leaps over the lying-over yard-arm.

Cook notes down the term

‘Bipedal Hopping’, hoping the while

this betokens a break in the rain.

Almost at once, this strange

shy marsupial with balancing tail,

gentle, fine-featured, confiding head

and generally improbable shape,

begins its rapid leap

into the nation’s psyche.

Sightings

 

The kangaroo is never far away

And hovers in our national consciousness.

At Kangaroo Point they were invisible

Or very recently moved into shade.

At Kangaroo Bay there were the usual signs

That they had grazed on the alstroemerias.

In Kangaroo Valley local residents

Had seen great herds move up to Camberwarra.

On Kangaroo Island there were only Signs

And Wonders silhouetted in the clouds.

 

But then at Kangaloon, surprisingly,

They gathered in their hundreds in a field;

Also at Kangarilla, quite by chance,

We saw them in the river willows’ shade.

Photo: David Brooks

John Watson is a Blue Mountains poet.

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