FAR in the forest depths I dwell,
The master mimic of them all,
To pour from out my secret dell
Echo of many a bushland call,
That over all the forest spills;
Echo of many a birdland note,
When out about the timbered hills
Sounds all that borrowed lore that fills
My magic throat.
I am the artist. Songs to me
From all this gay green land are sped;
And when the wondrous canopy
Of my great, fronded tail is spread--
A glorious veil, at even's hush--
Above my head, I do my part;
Then wren and robin, finch and thrush--
All are re-echoed in a rush
Of perfect art.
Here by my regal throne of state,
To serve me for a swift retreat,
The little runways radiate;
And when the tread of alien feet
Draws near I vanish: ever prone
To quick alarm when aught offends
That secret ritual of the throne.
My songs are for my mate alone,
And favoured friends.
I am the artist. None may find,
In all the world, a match for me:
Rare feathered loveliness combined
With such enchanting minstrelsy.
In a land vocal with gay song
I choose whate'er I may require;
I wait, I listen all day long,
Then to the music of a throng
I tune my lyre.
by C J Dennis (1876-1938)
The Singing Garden (1935) p.97.