The Scentsongs
from a thing I wrote and not did finish

Scentsong One

Glide in the darkness, glide in close quarters,

Slip through our structure, slide in back waters.

Arch you, and bristle, and play rough and tumble!

Come, flow and swim, come and kiss Mother Rumple!

Breathe in the air, my pretty little pups,

And send me your scentsong, all!

Feel you the pattern, my pretty little pups?

Tell me, are you a quoll?

But tell me your pleasure, my pretty little Peck

Come and commiserate!

And climb on my back, my darling little Peck—

When will you find you a mate?

With his belly daubed up and his nose sandy-fresh

His coat slipp’ry smooth and with corpulent flesh,

His feet with such rhythm, the envious moon

Could use them to pound out a tune:

Trot, will ye trot, till the grasses run out,

Keep at it until you fall!

For the scorpions there haven’t tails nor shells,

And aren’t you the happy quoll?

Oh, but leave me in peace, my pretty little Pugnose!

My, but your glands do grate!

You smell so ripe, my pretty little Pugnose,

When will you find you a mate?

Take a backwards walk, and you needn’t balk

When he peers in between your legs—

While your nose be flat, who can dwell on that

When he’s dining on quail’s eggs?

And your skim runs sleek, and your leap is fierce,

And your hunting is best of all.

And you’ll feed him rabbits and wallabies plump—

Be proud you were born a quoll!

And quiet you down, my queer little Quiver!

What do you venerate?

Why are you scared of every last thing

When someday you’ll have you a mate?

With his pinpoint eyes and his chubby tail,

He’ll take you to places far.

He’ll love you though, even if you’d go

Anywhere but the place you are!

And he’ll calm you down, and he’ll wile you up

And he’ll make you forget your fears.

And he’ll give you so many pups that you’ll

Be a mother for seven years!

But now let me rest, my rife little Roller,

Nighttime is growing late.

And soon you’ll be roving, my rife little Roller,

Far for to find your mate!

And she’ll be alert, and she’ll smell like dew,

And her fur will be short and bright.

And she’ll give you a nudge with her little nose,

And you’ll chase her for half the night.

And you’ll dare not rest 'il you're at her nest

And you’ll lean to her silent call!

And for what comes then in her thatched-up den—

Thank Earth you were made a quoll!

So goes the scentsong, all my pups,

And what did your nose take in?

Tell Mother Rumple all you felt,

For from all the splendid things you’ve smelt,

The next song will soon begin.

Scentsong Two

Glide in the darkness, glide in close quarters,

Slip through our edifice, slide in back waters.

Arch you, and bristle, and sniff for the fighters!

Dodge them, and curse them, the black-hairy blighters!

Stand now outside, brood, this scentsong is farther

Than any before, like the wide northern water

That strikes on the shore, with a sullen vibration

That pierces the night, with its grim mastication

That tips us to fright,

Or to fight—

Where are you going, my savage little children?

What is your fancied course?

Are you so strong to go your own way

Leaving without remorse?

Can’t you smell something out there, creeping

And prowling the whole night through?

Don’t you know no matter how big you get

There’s always one bigger than you?

Somewhere, my Roller, my Pugnose, my Peck,

A dozen have gone before.

A dozen have sprung from my loving pouch

To dance on the wild earth’s floor.

And somewhere, my yearlings are singing like me

And may have a better song.

And somewhere, their children are sniffing the night

And dreaming of growing strong.

And somewhere, the devils have taken a prize—

A forester kangaroo.

And everywhere now, the song resounds

It even resounds in you!

What are we, runners?

Scavengers, killers?

Followers, skulkers,

Lingerers, millers?

Strikers, sensors,

Thinkers, takers,

Strugglers, stragglers,

Fighters, fakers?

We may not smell it, but there lies meat

More than the devils’ fill.

Children, if you would go alone

Ready to flee your warm, sweet home

Ready to run and thrive and roam

Do with me one last thing!

Steal the meat from the devils’ feet

And run with it, then, and sing!