Monday, April 18, 2016

DMC: "Coo-ee" by Kate O'Neil


Where is everyone?
Is anyone near?
Where have they gone?
Can anyone hear?....
No sound at all
but the thud of fear.


There’s no-one here.
No-one but me.
I look and I look
but all I can see
is world-without-end
of the eucalypt tree.


I shout and I call
and all around
the air fills up
with the frantic sound.     
I could die out here
and never be found.


Was that an echo?
or was it real?
I stop and listen,
perfectly still…
and yes – it’s an answer
from up on the hill.


Closer and closer
comes the call,
then “There you are!”
You scared us all.
Thank goodness you’re saved
by the coo-ee call.”

© 2003 Kate O'Neil. All rights reserved.

From Wikipedia: 
Cooee! (IPA /ku:'i:/) is a shout used in Australia, usually in the Bush, to attract attention, find missing people, or indicate one's own location. When done correctly - loudly and shrilly - a call of "cooee" can carry over a considerable distance.
Click here to find out more about the word's origin. Kate tells me that when she was a child, she imagined the word came from swapping the syllables of echo. Don't you love the creative wordplay? Leave it to a child to come up with something like that!


In celebration of National Poetry Month, Marilyn Singer has challenged us to write poems inspired by the word "echo." Click HERE for more details.

Send your poem to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, April 29th, and one lucky participant will win a copy of her fantastic new collection of reverso poems based on Greek myths:


  1. Lovely poem, Kate. Have used Coeee myself on many bushwalks to locate children who ran ahead a little to far.

  2. Lovely to have this echo of Oz ringing in my ears today, Kate! I do miss the bush walking and eucalyptus trees.

  3. So lovely. I do this on our mountain climbs every day. Wonderful that now your poem will be in my head while climbing.

  4. Beautiful, such gorgeous rhythm in this rather tense story. Love hearing about "coo-ee" too.

  5. Wonderful poem