‘Animal’ Poems

As I’ve written many times,
My books always have beastly rhymes.
For animals are, as a rule,
Such easy things to ridicule.

The sad tale of Cedric the Snail

Have you heard the sad tale
Of Cedric the Snail
Who wanted to swim in the sea?
To the beach he did go,
But the tide was so low
That he dried, then he died. Goodness me!

Don’t make fun of an elephant’s bum

If you make fun
Of an elephant’s bum
He will run to the jungle upset.
But he’s easy to find,
For a jumbo’s behind
Is as big as a bottom can get.

An ode to a porcupine

Oh, porcupine with prickly spine,
Across the road you flew.
Now that is that.
My tyre is flat.
But not as flat as you!

An ode to alligators

If all alligators
Ate cheese and potaters
Instead of just munching on meat,
I’m sure I would find
That I’d be more inclined
At the river to paddle my feet.

A possum stole my underpants

A possum stole my underpants
While I lay in my bed.
A possum stole my underpants
And wore them on his head.

A possum stole my underpants
And leapt from tree to tree.
A possum stole my underpants.
It didn’t bother me…

A possum stole my underpants.
…for I had worn those undies…
A possum stole my underpants.
…for a whole month of Sundays.

A possum stole my underpants
While I lay in my bed.
A possum stole my underpants
And sniffed them. Now he’s dead.

Old Hippopotamus said to Rhinoceros…

Old Hippopotamus said to Rhinoceros,
‘Shall we do something that’s simply preposterous?
Something that’s never been tried by such beasts as us,
None from the north, south, the west or the east of us?
Something giganturous, simply spectaculous,
A thing that will always be seen as miraculous?
It would have to be splendid, tremendid, terrific,
Specifically something uniquely specific,
Globally tweeted and never repeated,
Though some may well try but they never will beat it.
We’ll go down in history, our method a mystery,
Be talked about, squawked about, studied consisterly,
Worshipped by worshippers, entrepeneurshippers.
Scholars of future will always refer to us,
Use our example as what is achievable,
Though only just possible, barely believable,
And ask of their students to write dissertations
On old Hippo’s devilish determination,
Insistence, persistence to go the whole distance
With Rhinoceros (you) as his faithful assistant.
Now, what do you say to my brilliant idea?
Are you with me or are you content to stay here?’
‘I’ll stay here,’ said Rhinoceros.
Mad duck

“Moo,” said the duck,
“That’s just my luck,
To be struck down with mad cow disease.”
“Quack,” said the cow,
“I don’t quite know how
That duck milk gets made into cheese.”
Don’t steal the scare from a grizzly bear

Don’t steal the scare from a grizzly bear,
Or a dromedary’s singular hump.
A bee needs its buzz (yes it does, yes it does)
And a kangaroo must have its jump.

Leave the whale its fine tail and the shell on a snail,
And don’t stifle the stink of a skunk.
A cow craves its moo (course it does, wouldn’t you?)
As an elephant treasures its trunk.

Don’t grab a goose gander, bamboo from a panda.
A crocodile must have its snap.
The swing of an ape (and of this I don’t jape),
If removed, will unsettle the chap.

A centipede’s crawl and a dung beetle’s ball
Must remain, like an anteater’s snout.
A glow worm’s bright glow (and this fact you should know)
Is a thing that it can’t live without.

A porcupine spike is what porcupines like,
And a scorpion’s fond of its sting.
A duck with no quack (yet another great fact)
Is a very unfortunate thing.

Every species and breed has something that they need,
And to take it would be such a shame.
Leave others alone, allow each to its own,
And accept that we’re not all the same.
Elephants’ noses

Elephants’ noses just growses and growses
Till they’re trumpy and trunky and long.
They can smell gone off cheese on an African breeze
When it’s left in a fridge in Hong Kong.

They can wash twenty buses without too much fusses
And pick up a forest of trees.
Their trunks are so long, when a cold comes along
It can take them an hour to sneeze.

They can tie them in knots – lots of knots, lots and lots.
They can hang from the hills of Burundi.
They can tell smells apart – if you give them a fart
They will know what you ate since last Monday.

Elephants’ trunks are so useful, me thunks,
Much more useful than our little snozzles.
And when they are dead and we dig up their heads
They make far much more interesting fozzils.


The rarest of animals

The Upside Down Bird, you may well have heard, is a very unusual creature.
Apart from the obvious (look at its name), it has other distinguishing features.
It feeds on small rodents that skip through the sky -
A bit of a problem as it cannot fly.
It lives only in countries that start with a Q.
For a bird that can’t read that’s a hard thing to do.
And what’s more, that country must end in a Z.
Since the downfall of Quz,
The Upside Down Bird is now dead.

The Inside Out Hare, you may be aware, is a very peculiar mammal.
It’s not very hairy, but yucky and scary, with a hump on its back like a camel.
To mate with the female, it awaits her shrill call -
Not good as the female has no voice at all.
It lives only in packs of a hundred and one.
For a hare that can’t count, that’s not easily done.
And what’s more, when it sees green it eats its own head.
Since it lives in the forest,
The Inside Out Hare is now dead.

The Back to Front Trout, you may have worked out, is a one of a kindsort of fish.
With a head for a fin and a fin for a head, it has itself only one wish -
To meet with another fish just like itself -
Unlikely, as it lives in a bowl on a shelf.
It spells out its name back to front on the glass.
For a fish that can’t write that’s a pain in the neck.
And what’s more, it must write it along the outside.
Since a fish needs its water,
The Back to Front Trout has just died.
Get out of the mud

“Get out of the mud,” said the worm to the pig,
“There isn’t enough, and you’re far too big.
I’m trying to eat it and pass it on through.
I don’t want it dripping off you.”

“Get out of the mud,” said the pig to the worm.
“You’ve had long enough, now it’s surely my turn.
I need to jump in and start rolling about.
It’s time that you wriggled on out.”

“Get out of the mud,” said the hippo aloud.
“They say two is company, three is a crowd.
I’m coming on in, I‘m afraid that is that.”
And he jumped in and squashed them both flat.
Questions that I ask

Do bats get afraid of the dark?
Do polar bears not like the cold?
Do snails feel the need to move house at full speed
When they think that their shells are too old?

Do mice not like cheese and what makes dust mites sneeze?
And do fleas get small fleas in their hair?
These questions are what everybody should ask
If they cared the same way that I care.

What if cows didn’t like grass or drank milk from a glass?
Surely one bird must have vertigo.
What if spiders were frightened of spiders who didn’t like spiders?
This stuff we should know.

What if fish couldn’t swim? What if fireflies were dim?
What if old dogs could be taught new tricks?
What if sloths didn’t sleep or stick insects didn’t keep
Trying to impersonate simple sticks?

What if zebras ate lions and lions kept trying
To stick to a vegetable diet?
If you haven’t thinked of the things I have thinked,
Then I think you should blinking well try it.

Think outside the box. Think of shy, not sly, fox.
Think of elephants without long trunks.
For thinking of things that this world never brings
Is a thing that not many have thunk.

So don’t mind if you find that your mind’s not aligned
To the binds or confines of convention,
For it’s fine to incline to a line such as mine,
And to live in a world of invention.
The purple pawed parrot of Northern Peru

The purple pawed parrot of Northern Peru
Has got purple paws that aren’t orange or blue.
It isn’t a tiger, a toad or a turtle,
But simply a parrot whose paws are all purple.

It lives in the Northern Peruvian jungle
In a Tumbletum tree in a nest made of fungle.
It isn’t a reindeer, a rabbit or rat,
Just a purple pawed parrot – as simple as that.

It hasn’t a tail; there’s a bend in its beak.
Its eyesight is poor and it squawks with a squeak.
Now, it isn’t a bat or a bear or a boar…
It is only a parrot of purpley paw.

When it’s born it will leap from its nest made from fungle
In its Tumbletum tree in the North Peru jungle.
But remember – it isn’t a fly, flea or fish –
It is only a parrot pawed purplyish.

There’s a pretty good chance that this parrot pawed purple
Will soar high above, but a chance it will hurtle
Straight down to the ground and be swallowed up whole
By a crafty carnivorous cat down below.

For this cat won’t eat fly, won’t eat flea, won’t eat fish
And, for him, bat, bear, boar won’t appeal as a dish,
Nor reindeer, rat, rabbit, toad, tiger or turtle –.
He’ll only eat parrots whose paws are all purple.

A pig in a boat

‘Twas a pig in a boat was all that she wrote.
‘Twas a pig in a boat – nothing more.
I had to find out what those words were about,
So I headed towards the seashore.

The dog in the road said I’d been rightly told
Of the pig in a boat by the sea,
So we followed the trail till we met a green snail
In the grass who said he’d come with me.

So the dog and the snail followed close on my tail
Till we came to a sheep in a field
Who said it was true what I’ve just told to you -
That the pig in the boat was for real.

Well, the four of us travelled along roads of gravel
And met a huge fox in its lair.
It narrowed its eyes, said it wasn’t surprised
That the pig in the boat was still there.

In a forest of green we were easily seen
By a squirrel who said he would like
To travel with us to the pig, on a bus
Or a train or a boat or a bike.

So along we all went - time was being well spent
Till we came to the swamps of Kerboo.
There we stopped for a rest at the place we liked best
And were met by a sinking gnu.

We all made a line and we pulled just in time -
The gnu shot up out of the swamp.
And he quickly agreed that, with haste, he should lead
Us along on our piggy-boat stomp.

Up over the hill we ascended until
We got to the top and went down.
And there at the bottom were some bears, and we got ‘em
To point out the way to the town.

They pointed due east and they said that the least
They could do was to send their pet goat.
It had been its life’s mission, a lifelong ambition
To witness a pig in a boat.

Through the town’s hustle bustle, with crowds we did tussle,
And picked up a frog and a fly
Who also told me ‘twas a thing all should see
Before reaching the day when they die.

And out of the town, to the cliffs that looked down
On the sea that stretched out to the sun,
We all stood and stared at the sight that was there,
And none there could believe it – not one.

I stood by the dog, who sat by the snail,
Who rested upon the sheep’s ear -
The squirrel, gnu, the bears and goat too,
And the frog and the fly standing near.

Not one of us breathed. We had never believed
That the letter was true what she wrote.
But there in the sea, staring back up at me,
Was that marvellous pig in a boat.

© Copyright Mike Lucas