Translation Heading

Editificating, and some rather awkward spots of bother in our lives (using the best traditions of British understatement) have kept me fully busy over the past several days.  For some light entertainment, I thought I would quickly revise this Really Awful Rhyme of mine, which is intended to form part of an anthology at some time in the future.

In fern-al hadeda.

An in-fern-all hadeda, born and bred in our garden.


A hadeda was hatched one day
High in a ficus tree,
And soon that bird put on display
Stuck-uppedness in every way:
‘There is,’ as he was wont to say,
‘No bird as great as me!’ 

 ‘As I!’ his brother pointed out,
‘My, you do put on airs!’
Then uttered ‘Haaaa!’ in raucous shout,
Which was not very wise, no doubt –
As soon as no-one was about,
Got pushed from nest, downstairs! 

Survivor showed no sympathy
For brother’s fatal flight;
‘He shouldn’t have said, “Haa!” you see –
”Ahh” says it far more music’lly;
He had no culture, you’ll agree:
It served the blighter right!’ 

Thenceforward ‘Ahh’ became his name;
The way he sang that word
Gave rise to quite some lasting fame,
Although, from hadeda, sounds tame,
So, everyone, you cannot blame
For thinking it absurd. 

From chick-hood, normal food he scorns –
His parents had a time!
No earthworms pecked from urban lawns,
Or slugs slurped down in dewy dawns; *
No, all he’d eat were Parktown prawns,**
And thought they were sublime. 

At last he left his treetop nest;
With tuneful ‘Ahh’ he flew
To find the food that he loved best,
But very soon was much distressed:
‘There aren’t too many,’ he confessed,
As well his parents knew. 

This he-dada reached adulthood
In quite a hungry state,
And then he thought perhaps he could
Find she-dada who would be good
At finding food, as well she should,
As duty to her mate. 

But she-dadas from near and far
Just laughed to hear his cry:
‘Haha, dada, how la-di-da!
If you can’t yell an honest “Haaaa!”
You might as well go back to Ma!’
Was answer to each try. 

So if a mournful, ‘Ahh!’ you hear,
Bereft of any joys,
You’ll know that starving Ahh is near,
And it will mean, I greatly fear,
He still insists on steering clear
Of making ‘common’ noise. 

* I rather like this line.
Parktown Prawn (wiki)

Parktown Prawn (Wiki)

**Particularly large crickets, taking their name from Johannesburg’s Parktown suburb.
© Colonialist July 2009/June 2014 (WordPress)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Birds, Colonialist, verse, writing, music composition, fantasy, Africa, journal., Humour, Nonsense verse, Really Awful Rhyme and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. bluebee says:

    Aah, what a maaahvellous poem. I do miss those sounds, but not those ghastly PPs – eugh!


  2. bulldog says:

    I love it – thanks for steering me in this direction…


  3. Harmony says:

    Perhaps your he-dada could fly up north and make merry with my she-dada that has taken up residence upon my roof … They’re welcome to honeymoon in my garden [plenty of Parktown Prawns] and thereafter they can return to your fern for a life of haha and dada.


  4. Loved the poem, it must be read out loud 🙂


  5. That’s a scary looking beak! At least we only have seagulls in Glasgow


  6. The Asian says:

    These birds drive me absolutely insane with the huge noise that they make


  7. adeeyoyo says:

    Hadedas seem prone to leg injuries. I have two cripples here (and they seem to manage quite well for a time) over the last three years.
    Parktown Prawns: My dogs killed one just outside the kitchen door. It wasn’t like yours. This one was pink (as in Prawn)!


  8. gpcox says:

    This one truly is great!


  9. Grannymar says:

    I never had a hadedah, but if I had, would I like it?


    • colonialist says:

      You’d love the look of them, particularly if the sun glistened on the wings. They have colours which look brilliant to another hadeda, by the way.
      You’d hate the sound. ‘Raucous’ is an understatement!


  10. melouisef says:

    I love the hadedas – they even hung an orange plastic bag from their nest here! Message?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ugh……Parktown Prawns! Thanks for reminding me of these prehistoric monsters, Col. Enjoyed your woeful tale. I think we killed most of those tasty morsels when we lived in Johannesburg. Well at least, hubby did, whilst I stood well back offering encouragement. 🙂


  12. Ruth2Day says:

    we have a hadedah in our garden quite regularly. He/she seems to have taken up refuge a his/her leg heals.


  13. Lekker waarneming …


  14. ddupl3ss1s says:

    Hul(Hadidas) loop met opgetrekte skouers ..so waardig soos Begrafnisondernemer vooraan stoet. Baie geniet die fyn fyn spot .

    Liked by 1 person

  15. susielindau says:

    Fantastic poem and a lesson to all those He-dadas out there….


  16. A splendid bit of ornithological poetry.


  17. misswhiplash says:

    Sorry to hear that you have had some bother..do hope it is soon sorted. I am on holiday for 15 days so will not be commenting…love to all


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