Discuss The Differences Between Conservation And Tea Parties

Today I sat an exam and managed to slip in some facts about Bertie the Last Black Rhino (or what he represents at least), and also some cheetah and livestock guarding dog facts. It’s amazing how deeply ingrained these things can be when you give a thirty minute talk on them 60 times. I’m sure the falling in love with the animals also helps. So after being serious about animals, I came home and finished editing a poem I started a while ago… about animals. Bit of a busman’s holiday, really. However, this is a bit less serious. It’s a long one, but I’m proud of it, and it gets silly and fun as it goes on. This is “Mary’s Tea Party”.

Mary’s Tea Party

“Oh Mary, my sweet, won’t you come in to eat!
But it’s hot now, so don’t you be tardy!”
So Mary got up, and replacing her cup,
She abandoned her garden tea party.

The Hog in the bush gave his neighbour a push,
And the Frog found himself quite misplaced,
But once his great eyes had espied the surprise,
He was cured in no time of disgrace.

He called to his friends, the chin-wagging old Hens,
And demanded that they spread the word:
“A party for us is a great deal of fuss,
So this message just has to be heard!”

The Hens’ eyes grew bright, with the gossip’s delight,
And declared themselves up to the task.
So rushing the Rooster, they blurted “Hey, you sir,
A favour of you we must ask…”

He opened his beak, and these words did he speak:
“All my dear fellow creatures and beasts,
Come one and come all, each who may hear this call,
For today we’ve a glorious feast!”

Each beast and each bird in the whole grounds had heard,
From the gardens way back to the stables.
It was merely minutes, ‘til everyone in it,
Was gathered and squeezed the table.

The Horse, but of course, was the first to have forced,
Her own way to the front of the party.
As she made her way, she obtained bales of hay,
And she neighed oh so hale and hearty.

When next the Peacock came declaring his shock,
Seeking after who ruined his nap,
The hens took his wing, and sweet words did they sing,
And so that was the end of all that.

Then third came the Goat, in his glittering coat,
And he made his way into the yard.
To rest his sore feet, he sat down with a bleat,
And proclaimed that he sorely was starved.

Soon after the call, the whole table was full,
And each animal sat down to dine,
With wings and with claws, and with hooves and with paws,
This buffet in no way was refined.

The wee Millipede, in his manner of greed,
Had a cup in each one of his hands,
But nobody cared, once the melodies blared,
From all five of the Fox-trot brass band.

The raving old Rabbit had one awful habit;
He’d overly sugar his tea.
If one were to grab it, he’d scream “You can’t have it,
As all of this sugar’s for me!”

The troublesome Crow could not simply let go,
Of her chance when the Rabbit was turned.
He was unaware, as she pecked at his hair,
But his tea choked him when he returned.

The Snail thought rubbish, that he became sluggish,
But he was too full-up to stand.
And sore was the Slug, when there were no more mugs,
For he came a lot later than planned.

The Magpie cared not for the whistling teapots,
Only silverware could make her swoon,
So nobody’s tea could be stirred because she,
Had by then stolen all of the spoons.

Meanwhile with breath baited, the Badger had waited,
For now his grand scheme had been set.
He said not a word about any dessert,
Every sweet surely would be his yet.

The poorly Grass-Snake was to make the mistake;
She had taken a cake for her own.
In jam they were smothered, so ants had them covered;
The Badger had every scone.

The swan, to the goose, had said “Let’s make a truce,
And ignore all of this obscene ruckus.”
But standing wide-eyed, the goose flung his wings wide,
And he spilled both the Hare and the hummus.

The Squirrel was new to all this, it is true,
And she chewed her way through her own saucer.
When asked if she knew what it was she should do,
She then boldly replied, “Oh, of course, sir.”

But what happened next, not a soul would have guessed:
Mary’s dog had come hurtling in.
They jumped in a panic, and all became manic;
The whole party was whirling like wind.

Just when she had heard, the poor, nervous Blackbird,
She began to both cough and to splutter,
The Dove gave a whack on the poor Blackbird’s back,
But her beak ended up in the butter.

The Horse gave a jump, and she spilled sugar lumps,
And the Rabbit, at last, lost his mind.
So faster than quick, he delivered a kick,
But it fell on the Hedgehog’s behind.

He shot from the table as fast as was able,
And doing so knocked down a chair,
But with all the clamour, and Rabbit’s loud stammers,
Nobody realised it was there.

The poor mother Duck was quite flush out of luck,
When she tripped and spilt all of her tea.
Worse luck even still had the Goat for the spill,
Was to land on his glittering sleeve.

With many a bleat, he was quick on his feet,
And began to chase after the Duck.
The Duck quickly fled through a hole in the shed,
And in which the Goat found himself stuck.

The Snake saw his chance, and he hid in the plants,
For the Badger could simply not see.
The badger was tripped, and away the snake slipped.
It was quite the full menagerie.

When Mary returned, she was full of concern,
For the noise had disturbed her nice lunch,
There was naught to see, but a ruined party,
And the last of the troublesome bunch.

Old Robin Red-breast had sat down for a rest,
But had found himself captured red-handed.
The Thrush in a rush, had flown off with a hush,
And the Frog found his mob all disbanded.

“Oh, my! It is mean,” wailed Mary. “This scene,
Is a mess that I’d rather not see!
I’d be sorely bereft, had I not found they left,
Just one small cup of tea here for me.”


End of Christmas, Back to Zoology

I saw a black rhino, but wasn't able to get a good photo. Still had fun, though!

I saw a black rhino, but wasn’t able to get a good photo. Still definitely had fun on safari, though!

“Everything is connected to everything else.” The first law of ecology, as stated by Barry Commoner, holds true where studied ecosystems are concerned. Cheetahs are not isolated predators, depending on good habitat and prey, who also depend on that habitat. Predators and large animals are excellent indicators of the health of the environment. This is a message that was thoroughly bored into my head when working with cheetahs, widening my perspective on conservation and encouraging that all-encompassing approach to protecting habitats and everything in them.

By working with cheetahs, I also learned vast amounts about other species, and also about myself. I’ve tried to be more conscientious about all the things that I am connected to, both as a person and part of a species, being responsible as one of the 7 billion custodians of the planet.

But it’s not all doom and gloom and maturity. Here is a silly song, scraping those last dregs of Christmas together into the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, about black rhinos. Enjoy!

Bertie the last black rhino,
Had a very pointy nose,
And if you ever saw it,
You would not believe it grows.

All of the other species,
Used to laugh and say mean words,
They never let poor Bertie,
Join in their savannah herds.

Then one sunburnt Christmas Eve,
The warthogs came to say,
“Bertie with your nose so stout,
Won’t you dig our tubers out?”

Then all the other species,
Did admire Bertie’s horn,
And they would then protect him,
So poachers you have now been warned!

The Sanctuary and More

I sometimes wonder how the greats discovered and created the many nuggets of common knowledge and culture that are now everyday words to us. Surely all things need a cradle, some nurturing birthplace. Were these sanctuaries necessary to people who are now invulnerable to their peers, and to those historical figures now immortal?

I usually dislike free verse, for the fact that it is inconsistent, fragmented, and difficult to enjoy. However, that is a part of life and a part of this poem, and even sanctuaries may sometimes only be represented as such. This poem again sticks to the warmth and safety of home, and is therefore aptly entitled, “O Happy Sanctuary”.

O Happy Sanctuary

O happy sanctuary,
Scattered like seeds of a crop,
Yet fertile before their soils.

Although common as their job,
True sanctuary is rare.
A node of boughs seeking love.

Any man can be a king,
Should he possess the right throne,
And kings be but men without.

For appropriately perched,
Only do wise owls ponder,
And philosophers create.

Sanctuary’s small kingdom,
Where insects may be giants,
And masterpieces revealed.

Hours panning for fool’s art,
Leisure inexhaustible,
And gallery unending.

For thus does true art blossom,
With lightness of form and heart,
From primalities conducted.

The sanctuary, safe place,
Summarised within the spring,
So joyously moves the heart.

And thus do our angels bloom,
Philosophers, kings, saved men,
Humbled within our own home.

Bonus: This poem is doubly about the sanctuary of the porcelain throne, and is subtitled “Ode to a Commode“. Re-read it and I think you’ll find some far too modest analogies. Sorry!
Dedicated to a Master Bale of the Bigginhill, illuminator of such everyday taboos and my partner in misguidance.

Christmas Sonnet

Here is a poem simply written when I came home and appreciated how homely home can be, and how lovely the holidays can be when your loved ones all bounce back together, however far away they have stretched into the world this year. This is a sonnet, because what is more beautiful and heartfelt than home?

What romance could distract my sober eyes,
From constellations in this very room?
Such pretty stars that crown our purest prize,
Anticipating joys that come home soon.

What finer company could any ask,
Than bellies fed and toasted toes to make?
The warming smiles of kin around the hearth,
And laughter thrown as if it could not break.

Our wealth could not increase, though we receive,
For more we would not ask this world to give.
What better Christmas could a soul achieve,
Than sharing it with all the stars that live?

Snow angels hold their hands through paned windows,
Lit quietly by families come home.

Take Me Back or Take Me Away

It’s funny how you think when you’re crazy about someone. My mind is a bit odd at the best of times, so throw a spot of romantic feeling into the mix and things can get a bit strange. This poem is about adoring someone to the point of getting lost within them.

It’s also funny how memory works. The poem is based on a conversation I had a while back, but I could only finish it when I came back to the place where I was during the conversation.

So here is a poem that I shall call “I’ll Steal Her For Starlight”.

I’ll Steal Her For Starlight

I see the sandy waterfall, that falls along her back,
I wonder if water could carve ev’ry crack,
To sculpt a scape so thoughtfully, to free up ev’ry stone,
With timeless precision does dew etch my home.
Where water weaves, the light evades, and shadows cast their roots,
And gravity’s absence draws me to such fruits.
Before a shade her contours shames, and hides her from my eyes,
I’ll steal her for starlight and take to the skies. 

We’ll fly inside each other’s eyes, until we tread the moon,
For rockets that cost not are naught more than tombs.
We’ve lungs enough to share ourselves, new craters to explore,
To inhale each other, and open all doors.
We are the poles of our own world, for opposites attract,
And are not the only, but most perfect match.
Our slightest differences, and our private puzzling parts,
Throw genders between us and conjoin our hearts.

We’ll count the years in greys we shed, and wrinkles in our skin,
As no other part of ourselves lets time in.
If beauty’s in the eye, and we are only what we eat,
Let’s chew up the miles lain along every street,
And taste our trips and savour every stone our toes can meet,
And run for our lives to keep living so sweet.
We’ll cover ground ’til all is found, and doubly fast alone,
Exploring together instead is our home,
Inside and out, meticulous, as if we lost our goal,
But all I desire is to scour your soul.
Look into you and out for you; the eyes you didn’t know,
Ensuring our past doesn’t know where we go.

Though beasts may hide where eyes fall short, not one may cause you hurt,
No monsters can eat you if I eat you first.
My feast begins upon your toes so that you cannot flee,
We’d share them so you can live your life in me,
Like in you I lived mine since first you stepped foot in my eye,
Though dread falls on me should this knot you untie,
So next your fingers will be served, but softer hands persist,
To still that sweet rope that embraces your wrists,
Just as your breasts and body keep my hands from other hips,
And likewise your smile can stay my own lips.
I cherish ev’ry inch of you, and ev’ry word there since,
So last come your lips, which I savour like mints.
And now you kiss my insides, and can taste my every dish,
Your words are inside me, so why not your lips?
The future and your body now reside inside of this.
If I mistook fate, I ask “what did I miss?”

All Because of a Cookie

The other day I had a cookie that almost took me somewhere, but not quite. I imagine it was the flavour equivalent of the splinching phenomenon found in a certain wizarding story. It was a cookie that took me back in time to memories that aren’t altogether clear, ordered, or even entirely real. It was to one of those adventure holidays, where the kids have activities all day long, with bikes and climbing and probably talent shows that I didn’t participate in, while parents inevitably heaved sighs of relief that someone else was knackering out their kids. I don’t clearly remember any sort of structure or chronology with any parts of this, but I can remember certain sensations and feelings, which is all I really managed to write down. So, this poem is called “Of Butlins”, although I don’t fully believe I ever went to such a place.

Of Butlins

Flavours above any work of a mother’s hands,
Excerpts of time now preserved in a photo-frame,
Needing no audience when sweetness understands,
Bearing such holidays, captor of every game,
Would that it stayed the same.
Mass-produced glee and activities overdone,
Pockets and hours too shallow to stay alive,
Nutrients scarce but enough for a father’s son,
Tastes so exotic beyond the unchallenged drive,
Would that it could survive.
Every soul to climb out more a man before,
Fins for each leg, and now blind before lunch begins,
Sensitive once again when feet need not the floor,
All one could see, playing cowboys and Indians,
Would that we stayed as kings.
Days passed and hazy, near lost to the squealing winds,
Bruising elations until all the film returns,
Woodlands fly past young ears, shared with such fleeting friends,
Broken hearts, faces lost, but the emotion yearns,
Would that it was rope-burn.
Holidays, somewhere amidst all the school and youth,
Snippets temporally free, as remembered suns,
Clung to as though if released they become untruths,
Only a flavour until once more I am young,
Would that it stayed my tongue.

A Book and a Life on a Whim

As with all great poems, this one began when I needed to order over £10 of items online for free delivery. I treated myself to a complete set of John Keats’ poetry, and was inspired by the elegance and romance of his poems. We covered some of his poems in English class, but it went under my radar back then. However, one of my favourite bands references, along with many other literary things, John Keats, so I thought I would give his work a second chance, and have not been disappointed. It’s a fairly chunky book, and he died aged only 26, which blows me away that he wrote so much of such high quality. I also found out that he was born on October 31st, which makes this post slightly topical. Happy Birthday to

Here is to the romantics in times gone by, and all those who cannot answer their calling for their circumstances, so this poem is called “For Men That Might Have Been”.

For Men That Might Have Been

How men do march their lives as soldiers gone,
To rhythms seen or hid but yet to come,
Reactions bold, a pacifist’s response,
A right man is as kin and peers have done.

All forms must weather by the winters seen,
Though change be small, the clay does toughen some,
I weep for glorious men that might have been,
That live among us, bound and blind and dumb.

Romantics drowned, caricatured to stone,
Another man to lay another piece,
Or lay himself to die beneath his home,
To live his name on stones for the deceased.

Too rare is he whose left hand finds the height,
To rest ashoulder of forgotten kings,
And heaves himself by faith beneath his right,
And climbing there still finds the heart to sing.

So rare is he unburdened and alive,
That moulds, dear masons, must we bleed and pen,
To leave as he who lived two years and thrived,
Upon himself alone, and only then,

Will thoughts be aerial and free to roam,
And hearts be true enough for souls divine,
To live and love as only poets know,
For now begins the future, and this time,

Can men be men, and minds soar into light,
And rhythms be the dance of things to come,
Reactions brave, oneself to join the fight,
For true men are as kin and peers become.