The Singing Garden

The Lyretail

C.J. Dennis

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.

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