This is a favorite photo that I found years ago, and that I (and Sundance) have used in posts from time to time. The poem seems to fit!Poor David was a duck who couldn’t quack, he lost his voice and never got it back, one morning when he woke and tried to talk, it came out in a funny whispered squawk. The female ducks would laugh when Dave came near, he’d wheeze hello, but none of them would hear, the ducklings called him names like “Broken Beak” so poor old Dave decided not to speak. Believing that his vocal chords were junk, he took a vow of silence like a monk, he’d smile and nod to every other bird, but swam around quite soundless – not a word. And then one day he heard a big drake cry: “It’s hunting season, we all have to fly! No need to check the calendar, I’ve looked – unless we hit the air our goose is cooked!” “Stay here,” another quacked, “until the Spring, we’d be a perfect target on the wing, our pond is isolated, have no fear, we’ve never had a man with gun come here!” Another yelled: “You’ll throw away your lives! The hunters now have cars called four-wheel drives! They venture where they never could before, they’ll come around this neighborhood, for sure!” “That’s right,” another cried, “let’s not be schmucks, no need to stay and die as sitting ducks,” “Don’t listen,” yelled another, “take off now and you will hear that dreadful noise: Kapow!” The ducks were in a flap and going spare – some urged the rest to fly into the air, while others said they really need to hide, the air was death – to fly was suicide… And that’s when David Duck swam into view, he cleared his throat and shouted: “All of you!” You should have seen the faces on the flock – one female quacked and fainted with the shock! “Nobody’s going anywhere,” Dave said, “Start flying and the air will fill with lead, you listen up to me and don’t be conned, the safest place is right here in this pond!” “So how come,” asked a mallard, “you can speak? You’ve always been a mute – a kind of freak, we never heard a peep while flying South, not one word ever issued from your mouth.” “My throat cleared up some years ago,” said Dave, “but I’d observed how all of you behave – you quack, quack loudly every single day, but no-one really has a thing to say!” “But hunters will be coming,” cried a drake, they’ll find us sitting here, for Heaven’s sake,” “We’ll be quite safe,” said David, “in the reeds, there’s lots of spots to hide amongst the weeds! “The hunters have been killing ducks for years, and all they have to do is use their ears, they wait until they hear a tell-tale quack then shoot until they fill their game bird sack! “So listen, ducks and drakes and girls and boys, the secret is: to not make any noise, we’ll last the hunting season’s fourteen weeks, and all you have to do is SHUT YOUR BEAKS!” They all survived that season, thanks to Dave, the ducklings called him hero, wise and brave, and David earned a feather in his cap, he’d taught the lesson: Sometimes, Shut Your Trap!
By Graeme King