Jim Low - singer/songwriter

SIGNS FOR WOMBATS – The Games People Play

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a soft spot for the cuddly looking package of furry marsupial we call the wombat. This fondness, I am sure, was encouraged by listening to the radio episodes of Ruth Park’s “Muddle Headed Wombat” on the ABC Argonauts children’s hour.    

On one of her visits, my little granddaughter Eloise and I made up a new game. Whenever we went into an underground car parking area we pretended to look for wombats. Were they hiding in those dark, concrete corners? Were they lurking behind the many sleeping cars? Had they burrowed their way into the air conditioning vents?

Our findings always resulted in failure, as the exasperated Eloise so appropriately expressed, “no signs for wombats, PaPa”. I continue to play this game even though Eloise is, I think, now seriously starting to question my sanity with dismissive glares in my direction.

On a later visit to Melbourne to see Eloise and her family and welcome in the arrival of a new member, the lovely Caitlin Rose, I wrote this little poem about our antics in the car parks looking for wombats.

Looking For Wombat

Down in the car park
Underneath the shops
Far from the bushland
Where the wallaby hops
Behind the cars
All lined in rows
I’m looking for a wombat
With a hairy nose.

There in the dark
Where the shadows dance
There in the gloom
I have a chance
Of finding a wombat
With a hairy nose
In those dank, dark places
Where nobody goes.

With the greatest of wisdom
Beyond her years
Eloise now gently
Confronts my fears –
“There are no signs for wombat
Under the shops”
So I guess that’s where
My searching stops.

No signs for wombat!
What a shame!
Each time in the car park
It’s just the same
And though I keep on looking
This way and that
I cannot find
Any signs for wombat!

On the way home I took some photographs of signs on the Hume Highway.

Signs for wombats, Eloise!

5,6 May 2008

Poem: © Briar Hill 2 February 2008