Ingham Daily Press

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Culture corner: The Taipan

Abergowrie bush poet Tony Maloney, the leprechaun pony.

I vouched in song of late I’d seen a snake of reddish brown

T’was in my car but I had mixed the colours of the nouns

If anyone with eyes was passing by they would have seen

That wiry snake was not a brown but more an emerald green.

It matters not! In Ingham I had never seen the like

So ditch my keys I did and said: ‘I’ll ride now on a bike’

Matt Rice gave me a tip to stay off road and to head back

On path that lies between the cane and gridded railway track.

Just after Gus the Bus’s place, Matt said there was a gap

But cutting course it nearly led to my eternal nap

Mind-drunk on nature’s beauty serotonins flushed my brain

As flanked by misty mountains – I rode in gentle rain.

Three mares I passed by in a field had finches on their backs

Who barely moved when swishing tails, two white and one jet black,

Flicked overhead as if to warn of danger by the creek

The blue-winged kookaburra laughed and shook its dagger-beak.

Before instructed I had turned on to this dead-grass track

And whizzing merrily along I did not see the black

Gold gleaming skin or diamond scales – not far beyond my sneakers

Of what is the most venomous of all this earth’s dear creatures.

The taipan! She can kill a hundred men with just one bite

Too late I saw her ‘S’ frame flex as smooth and black as night

As thick as Abergowrie Valley – carved by Yamini

A million muscles, vial fangs, a head I could not see.

I split a drip and in a flash thought that I’d have to stop

But instinct kicked and I rode on for fear I’d land on top

Of this majestic beast, so close I’d smell her diamond scales

Gleaming like black gold – so I rode on along the trail.

She shunted quick as lightning’s flash away from the tread wheels

For it was I had rode into her world and not a meal

Pale-faced invader was I – though my heart knocked through my chest

The blessed creature had more fear of her unwanted guest.

I thought I’d met my end for that split second that it lasted 

And as I’d passed with gasping breath cried: ‘Ricey you’re a blastard!’

I tingle now to think I saw such majesty in nature

Oh was it our all loving God – who made this fatal creature?

Although the taipan’s famed as the most venomous of beings

I feel at peace she nightly slithers near to where I’m singing

For snakes that trouble me do not crawl low upon their bellies

They spit out poison while they bitch and moan over the telly.

Now when I close my eyes and I see that taipan shunt

I think about Matt Rice – and I say: ‘Ricey you’re a…bloody good bloke’.

By Tony Moloney.

Image by Rita Sinclair.

Are you an artist, poet or song-smith? Have you got a dreamtime story to share? Or a yarn about Hinchinbrook history? Canvass your art through Ingham Daily Press’ ‘Culture corner’.


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