“Birdlife explosion as possum numbers slashed” (Dick Whyte)



………………..dawn moon–
………………..the farmer checks
………………..his possum traps





“Birdlife explosion as possum numbers slashed” (Dominion Post)


Poem by Dick Whyte (see editor biographies). Read more by this poet.




  1. Laryalee

    Wow, what a story, Dick…I had no idea you folks were plagued by so many possums! And it took me a few paragraphs to understand the bird connection — at first, I wondered if you had flying possums, lol!

    And then, to see how this is one more case of human interference with nature…the possums imported, so they have no natural enemies and the balance is askew.

    Your haiku is a great glimpse of an everyday person caught up in this ongoing battle…nice one!


  2. Chen-ou Liu

    Dick, this story reminds me of the Asian carp aggressive invasion into the Great Lakes. Now Ontario wants to join the state of Michigan’s legal fight against Illinois over its failure to control the spread of the voracious Asian carp.

    I like the opening line, which sets the scene and mood for the poem.


  3. flake

    got me to think, but is there a romatic wool being pulled here, when what’s killed the possums has also historically wiped out the bird life, casue they don’t trap the creatures in any great number, they drop poision pellets from hellicopters… don’t they.. and since this has been the topic of wide spread condemnation amongst farmers and locals, could this not be a piece of spin… DOC department… justifying their budget spending on the cheepest way to control possum numbers…

  4. Dick Whyte

    Thanks for the comments everyone. And Flake – yeah, it could be. I mean, it is clear that we introduced them and fucked up the NZ wildlife (if we take the pre-colonisation NZ as the ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ NZ). And I love what you’re saying here about the fact that humans are killing everything – but we love to blame it on certain introduced species every now and then (which we also introduced). So yeah, I think you’re right – it is probably spin.

    This is one thing I hope people are aware of – that the articles often represent a different ethical, or ideological view from the poems. The poems are hopefully meant to make us critical of the articles (hopefully) in some respect. Nice one Flake!!!!

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