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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Australia or New Zealand (01/15/09)

TITLE: Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's...
By Beth LaBuff


Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be!

In the bush-land of Australia
A diverse Society
Met each week at three o’clock
To brew their billy tea.

Each member of this Aussie guild
Were seated ‘round a bog,
The wombat and the bandicoot
The sheep and dingo dog.

The crocodile sidled up
Next to the Kangaroo.
The emu and the rabbit
Came from the Uluru.

The kookaburra, merry in
The Eucalyptus2 tree,
The koala and the lorikeet
Treetop society.

Each member reaffirmed an oath
In lingo, fierce and strong.
They pledged the preservation of
Their outback billabong.

Until one diabolic day
That twirled them for a loop,
A devil from Tasmania
Came to infiltrate their group.

He pointed out the differences
‘Tween haves and the have-nots
Them that have the pockets
And them that haven’t got.

He incited racial hatred
With zoologic prejudice,
A billabong dissension—
Down Under outback fuss.

The koala and the kangaroo
Had the pocket attribute
Likewise the dervish devil,
The wombat and the bandicoot.

When the meeting terminated
Haves left and headed home.
The have-nots lingered at the swamp
To empathize and moan.

Then derogatory comments
With a hissed, “marsupial,”
As speculation mounted what
Their pouches might conceal.

“Perhaps they stash a boomerang—
Protection in the outback,
Or maybe a $5 note
To buy their Cheezels snack.”

“A self-contained doggy bag
For when they’re dining out,
Or perhaps to tote their lipstick
While on a walkabout.”

Kookaburra fueled the spark
Tas-devil helped create.
The mates – urged to get pockets.
The devil’s advocate!

They brain-stormed ‘bout their have-not plight
Their words – highly explicit.
They’d each construct a pocket-pouch
And then would retrofit it.

The kookaburra’s wisdom solved
Their tacky-sticky problem.
To glue the pockets on themselves
Required old gum tree gum.

The crocodile insisted that
His pocket be astride
His nose, but as he focused
His eyes became cross-eyed.

The emu had his pocket glued
Upon his feathered chest,
Where inside he could bury his head
When he became distressed.

Rabbit’s grand idea to grow
The bunny population,
He could overrun the nation.

The dingo glued an ample pouch
On ‘bout shoulder-height.
He filled his spacious pocket with
Some Aussie Vegemite.

Next week at three o’clock when
The group convened again,
Each one had a pocket.
Glued to feathers, fur, or skin.

The have-nots then became the haves.
Attained marsupial status.
But their pockets were ill-fitted
And declared “preposterous.”

When prejudicial comments flew
The new-haves weren’t amused.
To remove their added pockets
Faux-supials felt behooved.

Backwater from the billabong
Removed the gum adhesive.
The have-nots said they’d had enough
And hastily made their leave.

The Society disbanded.
The effort, understaffed.
The water was depleted.
…And the kookaburra laughed.

Author’s note: While this story may seem far-fetched, the kookaburra insists it is fair dinkum.

1. Australian Folk Song – by Marion Sinclair
2. The Eucalyptus is a gum tree.

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This article has been read 1108 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dianne Janak01/22/09
Though I have no clue what many of these things are, it sounded so Aussie to me, I felt like I was there...loved the imagery, the flow, and the feel of this fascinating country..
Lynda Schultz 01/22/09
Excellent—and dare I say it? so human!
mick dawson01/22/09
Your comical creativity is something to be admired and encouraged.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/24/09
Wow! I'm impressed by your super-creative mind. This is delightful, and I wish I'd written it! ;-)
Joanne Sher 01/24/09
Absolutely delightful and fun, and CLEARLY well-researched! Just fun beyond belief, and incredibly put together.
Jan Ackerson 01/25/09
Okay, this one is absolutely my favorite this week! I'm not usually a huge fan of this genre, but this one--with it's AWESOME message--just takes the cake.
Chely Roach01/25/09
This is hilarious, and I LOVE that the title compliments the poem. Well done!
Yvonne Blake 01/25/09
Ha,Ha,Ha! I knew you could do it, Beffy!

I love this part:
"The crocodile insisted that
His pocket be astride
His nose, but as he focused
His eyes became cross-eyed."
Joy Faire Stewart01/25/09
This is so fascinating I had to read it again, aloud. Very creative and a great message, too.
Karlene Jacobsen01/25/09
What one won't do to be like all the "cool" guys...(LOL)
I loved this little plight of the faux-supials...
Myrna Noyes01/26/09
What a clever, well-crafted piece with a powerful message! I could easily see this as an illustrated children's book! Excellent, excellent job! :) (And how interesting that we both used the "Kookaburra" song in our writing this week!)
Dee Yoder 01/26/09
This is so fun to read and imagine, and it reminds me of the Seuss characters who had stars upon thars...and those who didn't! Very clever, Beth. ( :
Eliza Evans 01/26/09
Oh. My.

How absolutely brilliant and clever and well... just GRAND! LOVED it!

Fantastic, fantastic job!!!!!
Joshua Janoski01/26/09
Lot sof Aussie flavor in this one. I always did wonder what marsupials stored in those pouches of theirs besides babies. LOL. Very creative piece that looks like it took a lot of work and thought to craft. Thanks so much for sharing!