Fur and Feathers by Banjo Paterson

Illustration for Banjo Paterson poem for kids Fur and Feathers
A team of emus play football with a team of kangaroos - and anything goes!
Fur and Feathers by Banjo Paterson

The emus formed a football team
Up Walgett way;
Their dark-brown sweaters were a dream
But kangaroos would sit and scream
To watch them play.

“Now, butterfingers,” they would call,
And such-like names;
The emus couldn’t hold the ball
– They had no hands – but hands aren’t all
In football games.

A match against the kangaroos
They played one day.
The kangaroos were forced to choose
Some wallabies and wallaroos
That played in grey.

The rules that in the West prevail
Would shock the town;
For when a kangaroo set sail
An emu jumped upon his tail
And fetched him down.

A whistler duck as referee
Was not admired.
He whistled so incessantly
The teams rebelled, and up a tree
He soon retired.

The old marsupial captain said,
“It’s do or die!”
So down the ground like fire he fled
And leaped above an emu’s head
And scored a try.

Then shouting, “Keep it on the toes!”
The emus came.
Fierce as the flooded Bogan flows
They laid their foemen out in rows
And saved the game.

On native pear and Darling pea
They dined that night:
But one man was an absentee:
The whistler duck – their referee –
Had taken flight.


Header illustration adapted from elements by CharlyGutmann, OpenClipart-Vectors and Clker-Free-Vector-Images at Pixabay, with thanks.



1. The poet says that “hands aren’t all in football games”. Can you think of some good ways the emus might have played football in this game?

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