Monday, January 20, 2014

The Animals' Retirement Home

One more old pachyderm, restless and weariful,
Fighting his way up the old kitchen stairs
Searching for crumbs of a cheese that was wonderful,
Wary, as always, of buckets and chairs.

One more old ‘potamus, hunting the garden beds
Seeking a hose that is dribbly and wet,
Trampling the roses and breaking the spider threads
Hoping the gardeners will choose to forget.

One more orangutan, hiding beneath the sheets
Wishing that black cat would wander away,
Drawing a treasure map, tracing the empty streets,
To find the sweet fruits of Ancient Cathay.

One more old polar bear, wise as a unicorn,
Puzzles his way through the diction’ry’s page,
Trying to picture the bagpipes and flugelhorn,
Wondering if lemurs could play them on stage.

One more old albatross, perched on the mantelpiece,
Practicing sea shanties in a flat key,
Cannot recall how to contact those helpful geese
Who used to fetch him a nice cup of tea.

One more old kangaroo, hating boiled Brussels sprouts,
Wants to make custard with raspberries and cream,
Hunts through the pantry, with all of its ins and outs,
Fearing that walnuts might be too extreme.

One more old chimpanzee, stuck in his rocking chair,
Nibbling stale nougat and knitting a scarf,
Drops all his stitches when he gets an awful scare,
Brushed from behind by a passing giraffe.

Madame the manager, chicly dressed tabby cat,
Frowns at account books and nibbles her pen,
How can she buy a new coat or a winter hat?
They’ve only paid her in peanuts again!

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