I was very excited to have my poem (hopefully PB one day!) posted on the Australian Children's Poetry website. Davey the Dunnart from Kangaroo Island is book 2 in a trilogy of picture books/poems about endangered Australian animals. Book 1, 'A Birthday Jamboree', is about Gilbert's potoroo or ngilkat, a small nocturnal marsupial that can only be found in the wild on Mount Gardner headland in Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve in Western Australia.
Dunnarts or djamins, are also marsupials and much smaller than potoroos. Kangaroo Ilsand dunnarts are classed as critically endangered due to 2019 bushfires which severely reduced the population.
Davey the Dunnart loved to play horn. He’d play every night from dusk until dawn.
Down by the creek he would jam with his band. Their sound became famous all over the land.
Roo played the bass, with possum on drums, Bandicoot swung on the harmonium.
Drongo would warble a sound warm and clear. Bat’s jazz guitar was smooth to the ears.
They’d come from the trees, from the Mallee and swamps, to jump and to jive, to swing and to stomp,
to dance through the night right up to the morn, all dazzled, enchanted by Davey’s sweet horn.
Then one moonlit night Davey didn’t appear. It seemed that their friend had gone, disappeared!
The animals searched all the places they knew, and even looked inside the park rangers’ shoe.
But Davey was nowhere. He could not be found. ‘Where can he be?’ his friends wondered and frowned.
As day turned to night, a smell filled the air. The sky had turned black and a bushfire declared.
Thoughts of poor Davey were put to one side as everyone ran to find places to hide.
The heat was intense. Many lost homes, and when it was over were left all alone.
After some time, the healing began. Green was returning to parts of the land.
Flowers had buds, trees had fresh bark, and once again music was heard after dark.
Then out of the blue on one bright full moon night, the sound of a horn was heard soft and light.
‘Could that be Davey?’ croaked frog in surprise. The crowd was amazed and tears filled their eyes.
‘Davey!’ they cried as they rushed to embrace. ‘We thought we would never again see your face,
or hear that jazz sound only your horn can play. We’re so glad to see you, so glad you’re okay.’
Davey looked up at the friends gathered near, and smiled a big smile that stretched ear to ear.
He took to the stage and blew that sweet horn, and everyone danced from dusk until dawn.
Davey the Dunnart from Kangaroo Island © Kerry Gittins 2021. All Rights Reserved.