I Was Only Stroking It, Guv’nor!

They’ve written about me in the paper again.
They say I love wildlife a little too much.
I’m the innocent victim of a media campaign.
I admit I like to look but I try not to touch.

They won’t let me into the zoo any more.
My annual pass has been revoked.
They say I made a pass at a labrador.
They say I was present when a panda was poked.

I assure you all that my intentions are pure.
I vehemently deny all allegations.
They claim I’m excited by the scent of manure.
Allow me to explain, forgive the alliteration.

I HAVE NOT:
Spooned with a seal, southwest of Swansea.
Kissed a kestrel in a kimono called Keith.
Ogled an octopus wearing a onesie.
Held hands with a hedgehog on Hampstead Heath.

I STRENUOUSLY DENY:
Cuddling a caribou in a canoe.
Fondling a ferret in a frumpy frock.
Buggering a badger in a bright blue bra.
Wanking a walrus into a sock*.

*It was actually a tea towel. Not to be confused with a teat owl.

My passion for nature has killed my reputation.
I promise guv’nor, I was only stroking the dalmation.

U ok hun?

He remembers a time when this was all fields.
Halcyon days when the internet was new.
He remembers the day of the dawn of the smartphone
He watched MySpace die as Facebook grew.

He was happier then, with his primitive access.
A handful of friends and nothing to say.
He handed out pokes with reckless abandon.
He checked his phone about twice a day.

It’s all very different now, of course.
He’s plugged into the matrix near constantly.
Eternally scanning to fuel the addiction.
He thinks:
“It.
Might.
Be.
Killing.
Me”.

Sometimes he wants to watch it burn.
Sometimes he needs to let off steam.
The friend requests from his school day bullies.
The casual racism. He wants to scream:

FUCK YOUR MILLIONS OF MEMES OF MINIONS.

YOUR KIDS ARE UGLY AND THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME.

YOU SPELL LIKE SOMEONE WITH A BRAIN INJURY.

THE COUNTRY IS SCREWED, BUT THE MUSLIMS/GAYS/LIBERALS* AREN’T TO BLAME.

But he doesn’t say a word.
He just keeps it all inside.
I ask him “u ok hun?
“I’m ok”, he lies.

*delete according to preference/prejudice.

Credo for Hugh Manatee

Try to be kind to unkind people.
Read more books and make more art.
Learn the names of the things around you.
Always take time to laugh at a fart.

Don’t fret about work, it doesn’t define you.
Select yourself a favourite tree.
Read a poem, then try to write one.
Be you, not what they want you to be.

Believe in the things that you want to believe in.
Accept that others hold different views.
Never be violent, don’t be oppressive.
Be selective about where you get your news.

Say something funny to break the tension.
Watch the sun rise whenever you can.
Surround yourself with interesting people.
Wear handsome trousers. Eat more jam.

Find enjoyment in the ridiculous.
Imagine a badger in a jaunty hat.
Don’t be afraid to be an outsider.
Most important of all, don’t be a twat.

First Light

I’m often out before the world awakes,
Earning my keep as the folk slumber on.
Studying old Albion before first light breaks,
Observing the changes that come with the dawn.

Night into day is a gradual progression,
Ephemeral twilight whilst the two overlap.
The sun brings relief from night’s sombre oppression,
Brightening the sky and banishing the black.

The colours of daybreak are subtle and strange,
Showing shades of rich indigo and burgundy red.
The new sky signals time for a natural shift change,
As songbirds serenade the night beasts to bed.

Dawn is the place where old magic still dwells,
The air thick with traces of enchantments and spells.

Why not?

Why not let your lawn grow long?
The bees would be elated.
A meadow born from tidy turf,
With the weekly mow abated.

Why not let your lawn grow long?
The results might be surprising.
Clovers, hawkbits and buttercups,
A wildflower uprising.

Why not let your lawn grow long?
And let the grass climb high.
Who knows which species may appear,
Amid the fescue and the rye.

Why not let your lawn grow long?
And create some habitat.
Nectar for insects and tussocks for voles,
Giving shelter from the cat.

Why not let your lawn grow long?
Especially in the summer.
We can sit out on the patio,
And count flowers of every colour.

Why not let your lawn grow long?
I really think we should.
An act of green rebellion,
Within every neighbourhood.

So why not let your lawn grow long?