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Flying Squirrels
Banjo Paterson


On the rugged water shed
At the top of the bridle track
Where years ago, as the old men say,
The splitters went with a bullock dray
But never a dray came back.

At the time of the gum tree bloom,
When the scent in the air is strong,
And the blossom stirs in the evening breeze,
You may see the squirrels among the trees,
Playing the whole night long.

Never a care at all
Bothers their simple brains;
You can see them glide in the moonlight dim
From tree to tree and from limb to limb,
Little grey aeroplanes.

Each like a dormouse sleeps
In the spout of a gum tree old,
A ball of fur with a silver coat;
Each with his tail around his throat
For fear of his catching cold.

These are the things he eats,
Asking his friends to dine:
Moths and beetles and newborn shoots,
Honey and snacks of the native fruits,
And a glass of dew for wine.

This poem is in the public domain.



Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson (1864 - 1941) was an Australian author, journalist, and poet. Much of his work focused on the people and places of rural, outback, and bush areas where he grew up in a farming family. A lawyer by trade, he enjoyed a dual career as a writer, publishing novels, poems, song lyrics (his best-known is "Waltzing Matilda"), and essays, and working for several newspapers in various roles. He entered military service in World War I, where he rose to the rank of major. Considered one of Australia's most notable citizens, Banjo has been commemorated there on currency and postage stamps. An avid sportsman who was particularly fond of horseback riding, his nickname came from a horse his family owned when he was young.


Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
Love it! Great rhyme and meter - and interesting content.
Posted 12/08/2023 08:23 AM
What a fun poemand a new-to-me poet! Thank you, Jayne!
Posted 11/30/2023 01:59 PM
Totally charming. And what wonderful tails they are with their white borders. Agree with Michael below.
Posted 11/30/2023 11:01 AM
Wow, he wrote waltzing Matilda. I like his last line.
Posted 11/30/2023 10:30 AM
An Aussie! Feels American . . .
Posted 11/30/2023 10:27 AM
Tom Sharpe:
Definitely a favored poet. Lots of beautiful epic poems.
Posted 11/30/2023 09:52 AM
"Little grey aeroplanes" creates a fresh image.
Posted 11/30/2023 09:34 AM
Really like the craftsmanship of rhyme and meter from this poet. Banjo would have been an interest man to know. Nice bio about him, Jayne.
Posted 11/30/2023 09:32 AM
Darrell Arnold:
Mr. Patterson is on many cowboy poets' lists as one of the best, ever. "The Man From Snowy River" is a favorite of cowboy reciters. I am delighted to see him here, this morning. Precise rhyme and meter and clever "versifying" are hallmarks of his skills as a poet. Thank you, Jayne. This is special.
Posted 11/30/2023 08:33 AM
Larry Schug:
I'm happy to learn about Banjo and his art. Nice poem.
Posted 11/30/2023 07:49 AM
What fun, what excellence in rhyme and meter and form. Love it. Thanks for the find. Randy Mazie
Posted 11/30/2023 05:22 AM

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