The lawn moa by Yvonne Morrison

GrassAs Dad and I tramped through the bush, our boots squished in the muck.
I jumped into a puddle -splash! - But then my foot got stuck!
Hard upon my boot I yanked, and waggled all my toes, My foot popped out, I slipped and fell - flat upon my nose!

I felt a fool, just lying there, my face down in the dirt, Still, I supposed, it could be worse, at least I wasn’t hurt.
I pushed up to my knees, but then before I could get going, Beneath a bush, I thought I saw, a white stone that was glowing.

I picked it up, examined it, I dusted it with pleasure, I knew that I must own it now, this precious lucky treasure.
I wondered, was it marble? It was creamy white like milk, And roly-poly like a ball, its surface smooth as silk.

"Dad!" I cried, "May I take this to school please, if I’m able?
It would make a great display upon our nature table!"
My dad agreed and so next day, I took the stone to school.
The teacher and the class declared, my news was really cool.

On the table for a week, it rested, safe and sound, Until it got replaced - by a bird’s nest Tom had found.
Soon I tired of my stone, and stuffed it in a box.
I shoved it underneath my bed with dust and rolled-up socks.

Then I forgot about the stone, while never even knowing, That within the precious rock an ancient beast was growing.
I admit, I'd no idea what mysteries awaited.
The stone was actually an egg. It sat, and incubated.

Until one night as I lay sleeping, underneath my bed, A cracking and a scratching sound filled my soul with dread.
Nervously I peeped beneath, but all I saw were socks, And then I realized that the sounds were coming from the box.

I opened it, and inside sat a funny looking bird, With lots of brown fur-feathers, and clown feet, so absurd.
I looked at it from high above, it looked at me from lower, No matter how I looked at it, it was, no less, a moa!

I know how much my dad hates pets, he always shouts, "No way!"
So in my bedroom closet my new bird would have to stay.
I made the bird a nest out of t-shirts and old shorts, He snuggled up inside, grunting grateful little snorts.

Every day I brought my moa, tasty treats for lunch.
He seemed so happy in his home, with all my stuff to munch.
Sometimes he'd snack upon my shoes, he thought they were delicious, I worried that he'd get too big, and make my dad suspicious.

The arrangement was a happy one, through April, May and June, But it couldn’t last forever. It ended all too soon!
When I came home from school I found the closet door was wide, My moa friend was missing, and I knew that I was fried.

"Dad, I wonder" I began, but that was all I uttered.
In the lounge the moa stood, while dad just coughed and spluttered.
"I beg you dad, please let him stay!" I cried in desperation.
The moa snatched up the remote, and changed dad’s TV station.

"I’m sorry son," my dad replied, "we cannot keep this creature.
Call up the SPCA or give him to your teacher."
When he heard, the moa drooped, he seemed to understand.
"I’m sorry, mate," I said to him, "in this house, pets are banned."

"Now son," said dad, "it’s getting late. It’s time to hit the sack.
Just for tonight your friend can stay, outside, around the back."
That night I found it hard to sleep, concerned about my bird.
Alone out in the garden, who knew what had occurred?

But then when I woke up, I saw I'd nothing much to fear, Dad was on the backdoor step, a grin from ear-to-ear.
"I don’t believe it kid," he said, and pointed to the moa.
"But that’s one pet we're going to keep, he really is a goer!"

The moa finished up the weeds upon which he was chewing, And scanned the whole back yard again, for what else needed doing.
He'd trimmed the lawn already, and the hedges he had shaped.
The vege patch he'd weeded and the garden he'd landscaped.

"You beauty!" dad called to the bird, and gave his beak a kiss.
"I'll rent you to the neighbours, and they'll pay a lot for this!"
True to his word, Dad rented him, to people on our street "This business needs a name!" he said, "And one that can’t be beat!"

"I know," I said, "Why don’t we try, Lawn Moa Company?
Landscape design and ground keeping our speciality!"
Very soon the three of us were like birds of a feather, We had become the best of mates, and always worked together.

Grass clippings, weeds and branches too, the moa liked to eat, Fallen leaves and snapped-off twigs, a gastronomic treat.
Before long he ballooned in size, he really was a grower, He carried me upon his back - he was a ride-on moa!

The moa was a backyard whiz, transforming in a flash, All our neighbours' gardens, and making lots of cash!
Our Lawn Moa business was successful as can be.
And my dad, the moa and I always shared the fee.

Perhaps you think my story’s done - but there is more to tell, It happened when we went away, just for a little spell.
On holiday, we tramped again, - and you won’t believe it.
Dad went and found another egg, but I told him to leave it.

"Dad, don’t you dare, another one’s the last thing that we need!
What if it’s a female? The two of them might breed.
One moa’s quite a handful, could we cope with a whole flock?
Dad, put it back, I beg you, and pretend it’s just a rock!"

But daddy snatched the egg up, he would not be denied, Imagining a Lawn Moa ™ in cities nationwide!

© Yvonne Morrison

Read our interview with Yvonne Morrison.

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