The Kangaroo Collective

Eastern Grey Kangaroos

The Kangaroo Collective

Motionless Eastern Grey mob
of kangaroos,
frozen with fear,
landscape gardening statues,
twitching ears
the only clue to life,
rotating at seemingly 360 degrees
like a periscope
trying to shake off the sea,
ever alert to the slightest whisper of danger.

Adrenaline overdose,
fight or flight.

Like a tightly wound spring that uncoils in an instant, one flees.

The agoraphobic escapes the shopping centre.

A sudden thumping alarm,
set off by the bolter,
catapults the mob outwards.

There is no synchrony
like a flock of parrots flying kites in the sky.

The kangaroo collective
mindlessly explodes in all directions,
erratic zigzagging across the plains,
confusing predators with
unpredictability.

Muscles of leg and tail store energy
like the springs of a pogo stick.
Elastic storage of hopping energy
in tendons, released into
effortless bounding motion.

Large muscular males
traverse the ground
at speed
with powerful hind legs
thudding.

Females, most weighted down
with joey-filled pouches
are not so fast.

Out-of-pouch youngsters
struggle to keep up with their mothers.

Instinct has kicked in
the brain of the mammal takes a back seat.

One kangaroo apart from the collective
hops into the path

of traffic

Collected!

Instant death

Beauty in motion; motionless corpse.

A crow’s meal lays waiting.

The mob reforms
to graze again.

__________________________

If this poem sounds familiar it may be because it is based on a short prose piece I blogged ages ago (when I first started blogging). Here is the link to the original mob observations.

31 thoughts on “The Kangaroo Collective

  1. “Like a flock of parrots flying kites in the sky”

    Wooohooo!

    I like the poem a lot because it gives me a glimpse of the kangaroo collective.
    All that is really overshadowed by the parrots though.

    The parrots remind me of :
    “Tropical hot dog night
    Like 2 flamingos in a fruit fight ”
    Captain Beefhart

    Birds and color twisting around…
    ..
    .
    Parrots flying kites woohoo!!

  2. they get confused, the shock, so sorry. here, squirrels often dart into traffic, the same instinct gone awry. poor little critters, and even tho they are large, kangaroos are poor little critters too

  3. Sadly common, and sad (also costly) for the motorist.
    You have brought pointed out too, the kangaroo collective mind. They move in a mob, but disperse to split the target. And also, seem less aware of individuals than some other animals, illustrated by your note of how soon they calmly return to grazing!

  4. Oh Gabe, this is such an accurate description of the roo mob… such a beautiful creature they are. I took Emily XYZ up to Toorbul a month or so ago and she was just beside herself with excitement that Kangaroos actually do just laze around in people’s front yards.

  5. This reminds me of the problem we have here with moose and deer. Not a month goes by without someone dying as a result of driving into one. From your description of the Kangaroo, it sounds as if they temperamentally similar when startled. I’m curious, do they freeze when the see the headlights of a car, like deer do? I love that you included some winged creatures my fellow bird lover and it goes without saying that you have truly done a magnificent job of detailing the animal attributes that we subconsciously carry deep within our ancient selves. πŸ™‚

  6. Oh you describe kangaroos, and kangaroo behaviour so well!

    I especially love, ‘like a tightly wound spring that uncoils in an instant, one flees’. They always do seem to have that intense energy about them.

    When I lived in Canberra I was always worried about hitting one in the car at those ‘danger times’ of dusk and dawn … it never happened, but it must be a terrible thing to experience (and of course a bad outcome for the kangaroo in question).

    • I thought long and hard to come up with the tightly wound spring simile, so I appreciate your comment Tracey πŸ™‚ It is much safer driving in the middle of the day when the roos are having their daily snooze in the sun.

  7. I like the pogo stick image and how they scatter somewhat erratically. I have always thought that about kangaroos. your descriptive powers are in full force here, Gabe. I think that writing about nature might just be your forte.

  8. back again. Tracy prompted a memory of a trip to Canberra. While booking a B and B, the proprietpor said. “Be sure to be here by six so you can see the kangaroos!” I took that to mean they had a mob of tame ones they probably feed to entertain guest. So at five thirty, there I was pushing the speed limit and then some to be there on time. Skidding to a stop right on six I looked about to see a woman ambling my way, in no hurry. “See any kangaroos?”
    Still suck in a different paradigm, I looked about for kangaroos then the penny dropped.
    She had been warning me of the danger of driving through kangaroo infested territory at dusk!
    “No”,I replied, calmly taking my bag from the boot. “Didn’t see any this trip.”
    GB, you are the first to know the embarassing truth but please keep it to yourself.

  9. Traffic and nature. So incompatible yet encroaching on eachother more and more. Saw a coyote cross a suburban road the other day. Now I drive there very, very slowly and vigilantly. Squirrel and raccoon road kill have been common here for a long time. Squirrels get very confused when a car is coming at them and run back and forth, not sure which way to go. Raccoons are just slow.

    • Haha – we do have some odd creatures Dhyan – you should check out the emus (large birds like an ostrich) – they will freak you out. This weekend we came across a Stingray and a huge python snake as well!

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