THERE is a flutter in the trees;
And now a sudden, dread unease
Stills all the bushland melodies
Amid the gums;
Stills now the song of wren and thrush;
Robin, honeyeater hush.
Now, with a wicked, whistling rush,
Grey goshawk comes.
I am the threat; the dreaded king,
Grim Azrael, is on the wing,
And every little living thing
Dares scarce a breath.
And now a parrot, shrill with fear,
Flies dodging there and doubling here
Thro’ inlaced limbs, in mad career
From lusting death.
Grey ghost, grey death, I work my will
O’er forest dense, o’er wooded hill,
And on some tree-top rend my kill
With reddened beak.
There is no haven in the tree,
There is no harbour safe from me;
In many a singing sanctuary
My meat I seek.
Beware! The swift grey ghost is out!
Be still! Grey death lurks near about!
Crouch close! Shrink low!—But have no doubt
I’ve marked my kill.
Grim Nemesis, I never fail;
Gaunt hunger is my spur, my flail.
I Feast. And now away I sail
O’er the far hill.