Kangaroos – The 100 Days Project: Day 87 
Two Poems by John Watson
Photo: Ray Drew
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.
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.