By Craig Nelson.
Kanga was in the top paddock, enjoying reflective calm,
When he chanced upon old cocky, who lived down on the farm.
Cocky was a chatterbox and like to have a yak,
But the news that he told Kanga raised the hackles on his back.
‘Spread the word, old friend, that we meet tonight,
And all of us in the forest are in for a fearful fight.’
The bush telegraph works quickly so it wasn’t very long
Before the forest was abuzz with word that something was wrong,
And those preparing their dinner had to make other plans,
For tonight was a crucial meeting of all the animal clans.
While the early birds were waiting for the rest to come along,
They passed the time, as usual, engaged in a sing-along.
The trees were a flush of colour, of gold and red and blue,
There were birds of every description, insects of every hue.
There were possums, wombats, echidnas and snakes,
There were reptiles in abundance and mammals of every shape.
To see them all together, what a wonderful sight to behold,
Snuggled side by side in a hillside’s warm enfold.
When eventually all were gathered, some apologies were read.
The Tasmanian Devils couldn’t be there, they were sick in bed,
And the crocodiles apologised that they could not attend,
But by jingo they would make it, if it was a fight to the very end.
For the moment they were battling Adani up north,
But if things were going badly, they would send a force.
And the spangled drongoes, someone suspected,
Had got themselves lost, which was half expected.
Kanag raised his paws for a bit of shoosh and when the crowd was quiet,
Thanked them all for coming and spoke of a fateful night.
‘This meeting is historic, I fear no contradiction,
Tonight we choose to fight or we sign our valediction.
Loggers have decided that our forest must come down,
As we meet they’re trucking in machinery from town.
Bulldozers and chainsaws will be here by tomorrow,
There is no time to hesitate or wallow in our sorrow.
The time has come, dear animals, to stand against this push,
Who are so intent upon destroying our beloved bush.
Then sea eagle spoke, he stood proud and tall
And urged all those present to heed Kanga’s call.
‘I’ve seen from on high how the earth is expiring,
How progress advances and the bush is retiring,
How animals are perishing at a rate most alarming,
As people keep extending their cities and farming.
We must make a stand here and pray that we win,
Let’s turn back the tide, let’s save oxygen’.
There were three cheers for sea eagle before dingo snarled,
‘I say get into ‘em now, we’re ready and armed.
As from this moment all canines are mustering,
Be there tomorrow, enough of this blustering.’
Then wombat said he had a plan, but he’d rather keep it quiet,
In fact if he could be excused, he’d like to start tonight.
As battle plans were finalised, someone made a suggestion,
That they ought to send to Canberra, a true blue delegation.
So, off they set to Canberra, an intrepid little push,
For days they trekked over mountains, over creeks and through the bush.
Until at last they sighted one of mankind’s follies,
Parliament House in Canberra, a palace for Aussie pollies.
‘Strewth, look at that,’ said Emu, ‘I wonder what it’s for?
People really live like that, yet still they ask for more.’
Undaunted by the monument, they continued to advance,
When confronted by a security guard, who was too big for his pants.
He was awful mean and ugly and straight away was saying,
‘You can’t come in ‘ere dressed like that, what game do you think you’re playing?’
When Kanga said it was the PM they had a mind to see,
This bloke laughed and sneered, ‘I s’pose ‘e’s expectin’ you for tea.’
‘That’d be beaut,’ said emu, ‘We’re rather tuckered out.’
which the bloke turned nasty and called the bird a lout.
‘Now hold it there,’ said Kanga, ‘We’re just not in the mood.
If you can’t be civil to us, then please do not be rude’.
Speechless was security and silence being golden,
The delegation marched straight past, brazen like and bolden.
Now, you can call it luck, or fortune, or native animal nouse,
But they managed to find the PM’s suite in that labyrinth Parliament House.
This PM bloke was up himself, you know how politicians are,
He liked to look in mirrors and smoked a huge cigar.
Behind a great big desk he sat, nearly lost from view,
Which is exactly what he’d lost himself, he saw things all askew.
The delegation marched right in, they gave the PM fright,
He vowed to give up drinking, starting that same night.
He thought he must be dreaming, he’s seen nothing so bizarre,
When Kanga introduced himself and explained why they were there.
Emu stood behind him, silent like and strong,
When the PM interrupted, claiming they were wrong.
He raised his voice and ranted, banging on his desk,
Which Goanna thought was pretty rude, in front of any guest.
The lizard slowly rose up to his full majestic height,
And judging by the PM’s look, I reckon he took fright.
‘Don’t be alarmed,’ Goanna said, as he raised a razor claw,
‘Just listen well to what we say, that’s all we’re looking for.’
‘Now listen here, are you threatening me?’ asked the PM, slightly nervous.
‘Don’t get us wrong,’ said Kanga, ‘We’re merely at your service’.
Kanga had only just begun to explain their noble mission,
When a PM’s aide burst into the room and turned on a television.
‘Here, look at this, you won’t believe it,’ he started to explain,
Then he saw who else was present and his face turned ghostly pale.
On the telly was a reporter, in a forest the animals new,
Who was telling an amazing story, about an incredible blue.
It started with the super, he was marking likely trees,
When, lo and behold, out of the blue, he’s attacked by a swarm of bees
He made tracks, you can be your life, he scampered for his own,
He moved so fast the loggers laughed, but the seeds of battle were sown.
At length he regained composure, the men suppressed their mirth.
When there was the slightest of vibrations and a trembling of the earth.
Then all their dozers disappeared, before their very eyes,
‘Twas the work of tunnelling wombats, who the ground had undermined.
The loggers were awful shaken, but they were men of pride,
And they wanted to clout the culprits, who were taking them for a ride.
And being men of progress, they felt they were in the right,
So the super, with a brave face, said, ‘Who’s looking for a fight?’
He spoke to no one in particular, because there was no one there to see,
Except a watchful Cocky, perched up in a tree.
Cocky screeched a fearful cry, which was a signal preordained,
To launch the first assault force, which Magpie had arranged.
Butcher birds and Currawongs swept down from out the trees,
Swooping on the loggers, who fell upon their knees.
A second wave knocked off their hats and before they were aware,
Maggie and some Plovers started souveniring hair.
The loggers up and scampered, they didn’t hang about,
They were all for being elsewhere, somewhere further out.
To see them run brought great delight and Maggie, just for fun,
Swooped a little lower and pecked a slow one on the bum.
With Dingoes snapping at their heels, they beat a swift retreat,
The story goes they kept on running for the best part of a week.
The delegation raised a cheer, to witness their friends’ endeavour,
while the PM spluttered lamely, ‘Well I bloody never.’
But to see that they were dinkum, the PM forsooth swore,
That he would save the forest, indeed he’d make a law
That there would be no felling of any native trees.
When Kanga said, ‘Ahem, may I suggest, the loggers to appease,
You should ensure no jobs are lost, nothing quite that stark,
How about they all get work, planting future National Parks?’
Well strike me blue, the bloke agreed and, indeed, what’s more,
He though perhaps a monument to remember forever more.
Down where the battle raged and dozers rust and bend,
Ex-loggers built a monument to Kanga and his friends.
They built a lofty lookout, atop a giant gum,
At the base of which they carved a sign, addressed to everyone:
‘Hark ye who climb this mighty gum,
From this day forth to kingdom come,
As far as the keenest eye can see,
There’ll be nothing in sight but tree after tree,
Thanks to the animals who fought so well
To ensure that forever their children could dwell
So, the animals won their battle, they triumphed over greed,
Their victory was an inspiration for folk of every creed.
Of course there were celebrations and festivities galore
Where stories were told of heroics bold when the animals won the war.
Yet, even in the moment of victory, old Kanga did decree,
As he stood before the monument at the base of that mighty tree.
He vowed to continue fighting, far from the forest he loves …..