The harsh conditions in the Australian outback,
with impending starvation and strife,
keep all on the move,
‘cos there’s not always food
in one place, for a fine healthy life.
Emund is busy preparing his dance-floor
for partners who’ll give him no rest.
His pedigree line,
now proven with time,
that it’s all agreed, ‘He’s the best!’
He hears them emerge from the bush as they gather,
in answer to a natural call.
They dance then go away,
knowing they cannot stay
‘cos there’s not enough food for them all.
They dip and they weave as they mingle together,
knowing they each have a chance.
With his reputation
there’s no hesitation
whenever he calls them to dance.
‘Bonk! Bonk,’ comes the sound of arrival.
‘It’s Emulena!’ he says with a grin.
They move to the side.
He leaves them mid-stride
to greet this dancer as she flounces in.
His movements are smooth
as they twist and they twirl in their dancing mime.
He does not fuss about who takes the lead;
he follows, as their dance now is ending.
With steps that are light
she glides to the right;
he meets her, bows deeply, head bending.
Emulena says, ‘Sorry, we cannot stay longer,
we must find paddocks anew.
It matters not whether
we all stay together,
we trust you to know what to do.’
As she speaks, they deposit their gifts
and he hears, as in chorus they say
‘We know you’ll do magically
what you do naturally,
Please deliver them in your own way.’
After placing this order, Emulena stands tall
as she fluffs up her feathers once more.
They follow her lead
in twos, and in threes,
as they promenade across the dance floor.
Left all alone, he goes back to his duties,
looking closely at each pale green shell.
He’s checking for defects.
He sees they are perfect,
and with care covers every one well.
He sits at his task for fifty-five days
in sunshine, strong winds and some showers.
He values each treasure,
and tends them with pleasure
as he, turns each egg every three hours.
Through his long lashes he sees danger coming.
He drops his neck down like a log.
Feathers fly high
and fur prowls near-by;
he needs to fool both bird and dog.
The shells have now turned a dark bluey green.
There’s an infertile egg in the batch.
This egg will be food
for his hungry brood;
but he won’t eat or drink, ‘til they hatch.
Each day he looks up, and turns his head
to the sun as it rises each morning.
He’ll sit day and night,
until the time’s right.
He knows that time comes without warning.
CRR-ACK ~ ‘That’s loud,’ he exclaims
getting up on his legs, so knobbly and thin.
He looks down to the ground,
where he first heard the sound,
and says, ‘Now it’s your turn to begin.’
Hours go by, as each little chick tries
to break free of its protective cover.
They all work their way,
throughout the long day,
to greet their father-come-mother.
For his new family he breaks the last shell;
to these fluffy striped chicks, he’s their mother.
As they grow older,
under Dad’s shoulder,
he will nurture, each sister and brother.
In time, he will leave his home on the dance floor,
a single dad, with chicks he will roam.
With high steps he will prance.
They will learn every dance
for survival, before he goes home.
With the changing of seasons, Emund finds reasons
to leave his young on their own.
Others join with his brood
now there’s plenty of food,
so Emund turns around and goes home.
Not taking the chance of being late for the dance
Emund picks up his speed on the track.
They won’t gather at his gate
if he gets home too late
to unleash the rhythms of the outback.
Rhythms of the outback are seen in the need to be different for survival.