Old Man Platypus
Far from the trouble and toil of town,
Where the reed beds sweep and shiver,
Look at a fragment of velvet brown –
Old Man Platypus drifting down,
Drifting along the river.
And he plays and dives in the river bends
In a style that is most elusive;
With few relations and fewer friends,
For Old Man Platypus descends
From a family most exclusive.
He shares his burrow beneath the bank
With his wife and his son and daughter
At the roots of the reeds and the grasses rank;
And the bubbles show where our hero sank
To its entrance under water.
Safe in their burrow below the falls
They live in a world of wonder,
Where no one visits and no one calls,
They sleep like little brown billiard balls
With their beaks tucked neatly under.
And he talks in a deep unfriendly growl
As he goes on his journey lonely;
For he’s no relation to fish nor fowl,
Nor to bird nor beast, nor to horned owl;
In fact, he’s the one and only!
Born: 17 February 1864, Orange, Australia
Died: 5 February 1941, Sydney, Australia
Paterson was a bush poet, journalist and author. His works include ballads and poems about Australian life in rural an outback areas. His most famous poems include Waltzing Matilda – regarded as Australia’s unofficial national anthem.