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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 4, December 2015

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Marilyn Humbert
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Battlefront

improbable . . .
a boneyard
hidden
in the depths
of a muddy dam

Visiting my brother’s homestead not far from the Darling River, on dust-riven plains near Bourke. A barrel-chested, two metre buck roo, paused at the back gate of the house yard. The yearling farm kelpie spotted him.

The chase across the front paddocks ended at the turkey-nest dam. The roo cornered against the muddy edge. Me on foot, left far behind, yelling for the dog to heel. The dog ignores me, continuing to nudge the full grown jack-roo into the water while keeping clear of its clawed, kicking hind legs.

I reached the dam in time to see the dog swimming in circles, harassing his quarry, which was now standing in water, chest-high. Suddenly the roo wrapped his short front legs around the dog’s neck, pushing him under, holding him beneath the surface.

near the waterhole
coolibah leaves whisper
to the wind . . .
tales of the pack
on the prowl

faded shadows
leaning on spears
watching
the hunted
become the hunter

dingoes
circle a mob of ‘roos
at the billabong
dogs drowned
beneath the murky depths


Author’s Note: There are documented of cases of kangaroos when cornered in water by dogs, both domesticated and dingo, drown the dogs in the method witnessed above to enable the kangaroo’s escape. Kangaroos are not aggressive on land unless provoked and then they use their short front legs to box and powerful, clawed hind legs to kick and rip their assailant.

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