Monday, 24 October 2016

The Magpie

As the daylight darkened, dimly,
On his haunches, knelt him grimly,
        Such a beauty he had simply, never seen out back before.
    The farmer stood, and grabbed the shovel,
    Pierced the red and rusty rubble,
        With heavy heart and weathered muscle, to meet the burden of his chore.

Dry grass and gum trees swayed serenely,
As darkness cloaked the farmland scenery,
        But his eyes stayed focused keenly, on digging deep with breathing tense.
    In brown grass, Southern Sun had scorched,
    The sheepdog laid out by the porch,
        But a shotgun, large sack, hat and torch, were piled beside him, by the fence.

With sudden click, and snap and swoop,
A bird flashed past, in flying loop
        He took a moment to recoup, as it perched upon the gate.
    The farmer groaned, resentful sigh,
    'Twas nothing more than old Magpie
        With feathers black and white, and eye, so glaring full of hate.

"Fuck off, you bastard," he snapped, upset,
Pointing shovel, in unveiled threat,
        With heaving lungs, his brow soaked wet, and cheeks now flushing red,
    The bird looked back, its head askew,
    As though to judge his threat untrue,
        "Quardle-oodle-ardle-wardle-doodle-oo", the magpie said.

He chuckled, smirked, said "Cheeky bugger,"
And bent down to the hole he'd dug her,
        Ignoring the bird, with its stare so smug or, was that just in his mind?
    To deepen the pit, this rustic grave,
    He scooped more earth with rusty spade,
        But once more flinched, and spittle sprayed, As it swooped him from behind.

To the gate, the magpie once more flew,
The shovel dropped, his temper grew,
        "Quardle-oodle-ardle-wardle-doodle-oo", the magpie said.
    "You little shit," the farmer yelled,
    And bloodied hands, to the bird he held,
        As he shook his fist, and ran, compelled, to grab that magpie by the head.

Up in the air, the magpie sprang,
He charged the gate with a metal twang,
        And as though a dog with slavering fang, "Now, fuck off, bird!" he cried.
    He grabbed his hat from the fence-side pile,
    The sack, now red, having sat a while,
        Pulled akubra tight, and darkly smiled, with a simple sort of pride.

But before he even touched the trowel,
It swooped once more, that chequered fowl,
        With startled yelp, and deepened scowl, the man picked up his gun.
    The barrel, even now, still warm,
    Was pointed at that feathered form.
        "I'll kill you motherfucker," swore, the man "I've still got one."

But even guns could not renew,
Fear in this bird, its stance held true,
        "Quardle-oodle-" BANG! . . . the shotgun blew; the magpie dead.
    The man stood there, the sunlight gone,
    Lowered the gun he had just drawn,
        Then twinkling bedlights flickered on, as folks got out of bed.

Voices perked, as people yelled,
They came outside; he said "Oh, hell . . ."
        And from his jeans, he took a shell, and chambered in the round.
    When neighbours came, all full of strife,
    They found he'd taken his own life.
        Laid down now, dead, beside his wife, in a large sack on the ground.

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