Axolotls, axolotls, Uncorked from the strangest bottles – Ask a little, ask a lottl, I’ll explain it in a jottl. Giant tadpoles, stubbly legs, Who, not adult, can still lay eggs, And having reproduced, each pup Shall cease all thought of growing up. Their smiley mouths and baby faces Compensate for stymied stasis, (Never coming out as planned, And never walking on the land) – They’re salamanders who meander Never wanting to be grander. While most life is lived full-throttle, Time stands still for the axolotl – For whether it is dumb or clever, They make childhood last forever They quite refuse to lose their frills And put away their childish gills, They keep a fin upon their back And regrow any parts they lack – They do not blink at staying kids (Because they don’t develop lids). Yet with a shot of iodine They can achieve their tiger’d sheen, They can equip with tooth and lung – Yet living fast means dying young, While staying in their pond long-term Shall bring the everlasting worm. So golden, pink, or brown-with-mottles, Here’s to ageless axolotls !
This poem is my attempt to write a bit like Ogden Nash.
February, when the end of Winter Greets the start of the start of Spring – And what better time for the ravens to be mating, For these early birds to be doing their thing ? Valentine ravens, tender and dear – They’re mating-for-life for year after year.
Coming out of the edges of the wilderness, From the Northern moors to the middle-class downs – Now nobody persecutes their loving anymore, So they do it in the open and they do it in the towns. Valentine ravens, cawing their love – A far better symbol than a bear-cub or a dove.
Cats crop up in poetry Like they do in neighbours’ kitchens, But when it’s time for serious, They’re nowhere near to pitch in. They haven’t time for heavy metaphor Or mopey musing – And earnest stream-of-consciousness Will send them straight to snoozing. But crack a smile and shake some wit, Or balladeer some derring-do, And lapping up the limericks, Here comes the kitty-crew: Pepperpot and Sootikin, The tyger tyger in the hat, Macavity and Pangur Ban, The owl-loving pussycat, In nurseries and nightclubs, In the scary and absurd, We’re sure to stumble over them Wherever words are purred.
Poison and venom – the diff’rence between them Is pedantry. Biologists may take exception, But only they should. Most of the rest of us navigate life Quite pleasantly With a definition that’s still close-enough To be good.
They’re here all year are the robins, The robins on their rounds, Delivering their song. But we barely see all the robins, Barely hear their sounds When they’re lost in the throng. But come the Winter and come the cold, And go the fairweather flocks – But the robins are patient, the robins are bold, As bright as the frost and as red as the fox. With a whistle they come, And they sing out the season And snow cannot stop them from spreading their cheer. They sing to each other, They sing for no reason, But we only hear them at this time of year.
They’re here all year are the robins, The robins on their rounds, Delivering their post. We little think of the robins Braving rain and hounds, Till we need them the most – Then comes the Winter and comes the cold And on go the jumpers and socks, And we need them to bring us the red and the gold On the cards and the parcels they push through our box. With a whistle they come, And they bring us the season, And snow cannot stop them from winging it here. They come when it’s sunny, They come when it’s freezing, But we only see them at this time of year.
As I’ve discussed in another poem, robins are territorial and violent birds. However, they’re also a great source of pleasure to humans. So much so that Victorian postmen with their red waistcoats were nicknamed robin redbreasts and soon Christmas cards were featuring them in both human and allegorical avian form.
And when I suggest that the robins ‘sing for no reason’, I am aware fully aware of the many uses that their song serves, but there is increasing evidence that occassionally birds really might just sing for the fun of it.
Koala bears in woolly hats, Emus strutting in the snow Spruces march across the Outback – Let it go, Oz, let it go… I know you’re mostly immigrants From colder, Northern climes, But not all cult’ral heritage Will work in modern times. Ditch the chimney for a combi, Lose the furry robes and gloves, Let the gum replace the holly, Let the budgies play the doves. Embrace your new contrariness, Your world turned upside down – This Winter masquerade is not The only game in town. Santa chilling by the barbie, Kangaroos to haul the sleigh, Redback’s guarding Baby Jesus – Season’s greetings, and g’day.
Shhh…let’s lie low here for a while And let our camouflage do its thing – Let’s watch the daily rank-and-file As it passes by on the wing. Birds or people, far or near, They flock till they part their ways. If we keep still, we’ll dissapear As they chase their busy days. It’s good to sometimes sit and think With a patient air and a weather eye – Let’s slow our breaths and barely blink, And watch the world go by.
Beetles, tortoises, and nuts, Pearls in shells and wasps in galls, Hermit crabs in disused huts, Rolled-up armadillo balls, Frogs in mud and chicks in eggs, Goods in crates and crates in hulls, Drinks in bottles, bones in legs, Feet in shoes and brains in skulls.