Platypus

I’m different.

I’m a banjo in a string quartet.
Banana on a pizza.
I’m a fart in a rose garden.
A penguin in Ibiza.

I’m a squirrel with a law degree.
I eat my soup with chopsticks.
In the winter I wear hotpants.
I invite wasps to picnics.

I’m a claustrophobic hermit crab.
I’m forty-nine shades of grey.
I’m Savlon on your fish and chips.
I’m different, but that’s ok.

The lovely platypus sketch is by my talented friend Sarah. Check her out on instagram @ sarah_hobbs_illustrates

Ode to an Island

Awoken by birdsong on midsummer day,
The solstice dawn mere moments away,
We walk from our cabin to the eastern bay,
To watch the sun rise over Vrångö.

Our burning star ignites the sky,
The light reflected in your eyes,
That dance in my mind like fireflies,
Two hearts entwined on Vrångö.

The winding path to our wooden shack,
You make us coffee, bitter and black,
I load treats into my canvas sack,
For today we explore Vrångö.

This pristine rock, this perfect island,
With its forest, reedswamp and coastal sands,
Our secret retreat from the crowded mainland,
Our paradise, our Vrångö.

You take the lead along the stony path,
I follow behind through the coastal flats,
We pause to rest amid the cotton-grass,
My naturalist’s heart beats for Vrångö.

We skirt the rocks where the eider call,
Where oystercatcher feed and the seals enthral,
Sea holly and aster bloom on the jetty wall,
A magical place, this Vrångö.

Our route emerges by the western road,
Into a cheerful hamlet of wooden abodes,
A bustling hub where the fishing boats unload,
Although it’s never really busy on Vrångö.

I’ve seldom known peace like this before,
Since we first stepped on this granite shore,
An island I love with the one I adore,
Twin souls cast away on Vrångö.

I know I’ll never forget this place,
This perfect moment, your perfect face,
Footprints in the sand were the only trace,
That we left, of ourselves, on Vrångö.

The Glamour of Decay

I stand in the shadow of the old power station,
An iron monolith, unravelled by time and neglect,
Hulking rust, flaking lead paint,
A coastal breeze makes the ferrous corpse howl,
The clangs and screams of a building gone feral.

Twenty years have passed since they last shut the gates,
Twenty years since mankind last asserted control,
Nature now thrives, unshackled and wild,
An erratic caretaker with a cubist’s eye,
Order erased and replaced by chaos.

Birds claim dominion over this mangled fortress,
Each corner of the inglorious ruin an avian metropolis,
Pigeons ubiquitous, gulls rampant,
Cacophonous flocks flooding the sky,
A clumsy murmuration of the unloved ones.

Dragonflies dance above the glaucous saltmarsh,
An old wooden jetty sways with the tidal ebb,
River barges were once unloaded here,
Yet now the hardwood timbers are left to rot,
Watched over by the ghosts of the wharfmen.

Few structures persist in this forgotten place,
Yet relics of the service yards and car parks remain,
Cracked and fissured, asphalt ruptured,
Colt’s-foot, horsetail and beard grass encroaching,
The ephemeral vanguard of a pioneer invasion.

A green-fingered crew once cared for these grounds,
Grasslands mown and manicured with pride,
Their box-cut hedges are now long gone,
Lost to leggy avenues of glorious disorder,
Verges transformed to a paradise of wildflowers and anthills.

Rusted and warped, a railway track leads north,
Through unkempt scrublands where the nightingales dwell,
Past dusty fuel ash sidings,
Fiercely alkaline, slate-grey and barren,
Dotted with bright orchids and hardy halophytes.

I rest at the gates of a tumbledown outhouse,
The broken sign still reads “nature education centre”,
Even a celebrity endorsement,
Couldn’t prevent this place from being forgotten,
When the numbers in the balance sheets stopped adding up.

I walk slowly back to the tarnished metal gates,
Through grasslands teeming with a rainbow of insect life,
A basking lizard darts away,
Her gravid body catches my eye as I squeeze past the chainlink fence,
Through a gap the local kids made years before.

As I slink away a sheet of paper catches my eye,
Stapled to a telegraph pole at the roadside,
“Planning permission granted”,
The machines are coming to undo twenty years of natural process,
Shiny new homes to replace a brownfield monstrosity.

It’ll all be gone soon, my secret place,
They don’t value this stuff, but it’s richer than any wild place I’ve ever known,
They’re wrong.
They’re wrong.
They’re wrong.

Lefty Protest Song

Pull the plugs and cut the wires
Throw your smartphone on the fire
Shoot down the satellites,
Tear down the masts,
The only news we need is the weather forecast.

Delete Facebook, send your last tweet
Chuck your laptop in the street
Stop funding Murdoch,
Ignore the press.
It’s time we made some real progress.

Let’s go outside and make some noise
It’s time for action, girls and boys.
Let’s go outside and breath some air.
It’s time to say the revolution prayer.

I don’t really know where the internet is.
But dad never had it when he was a kid.
Too much information.
Eyes glued to screens.
One step away from being ruled by machines.

It’s got to stop, it’s gone too far.
A concrete jungle with a billion cars.
I’m all for progress,
But this ain’t it.
Dying from fumes that the city emits.

Let’s go outside and make some noise
It’s time for action, girls and boys.
Let’s go outside and breath some air.
It’s time to say the revolution prayer.

Goodbye media, goodbye big oil.
Goodbye industry that kills the soil.
Goodbye tech giants that pretend to be poor.
Goodbye to politics that vilify the poor.

Let’s go outside and make some noise
It’s time for action, girls and boys.
Let’s go outside and breath some air.
It’s time to say the revolution prayer.

Lay Us Down

Winter mist hangs in the air,
As we sit and plan our great escape.
Down from the village by the secret path,
To where the wooded valley waits.

Hand in hand we skirt the barley,
We climb the fences and the dry stone walls.
Beech and ash reach out to meet us.
As we enter the wood where the ring dove calls.

Lay us down amid the leaf-fall,
Where the fungi grow and the foxes play.
Lay us down amid the leaf-fall.
We’ll close our eyes and drift away.

We’ll take the track down to the river,
That silver stream where the dippers dwell.
Let’s clamber over mossy rocks,
And bid our urban lives farewell.

One last push will see us free,
One last climb up to the ridge.
We’re miles away from the place we left,
Far past the vale and the river bridge.

Lay us down amid the leaf-fall,
Where the fungi grow and the foxes play.
Lay us down amid the leaf-fall.
We’ll close our eyes and drift away.

Each step from here on is uncharted,
As we walk toward the setting sun.
Twin souls with a shared desire,
To melt into old Albion.

So lay us down amid the leaf-fall,
Where the fungi grow and the foxes play.
Lay us down amid the leaf-fall.
We’ll close our eyes and drift away.

Stinky Alan

Some jobs make you hard to love,
They suck the romance out of life.
By day I scrape fatbergs out of the sewer,
By night I want to find a wife.

I just can’t seem to shake the smell,
It seeps into my every pore.
I’ve tried to bath, and I’ve tried to shower,
But I smell worse than a wild boar.

They call me stinky Alan,
Which doesn’t help my case.
Every time I talk to ladies,
They scream and slap my face.

They call me stinky Alan,
And it really isn’t fair.
I’m actually very handsome,
With a lovely head of hair.

My only hope is to find a girl,
Who doesn’t seem to mind the stench.
A busty lovely with a wooden nose,
But classy, like Dame Judi Dench.

I’m thinking about online dating,
You can’t smell bad on the internet.
I’ll search for someone accustomed to odour,
A zookeeper, or a saucy vet.

They call me stinky Alan,
I want to make love all night.
All I want is to find a girl,
Who can stand the smell of shite.

They call me stinky Alan,
And I’ve had a great idea.
I’ll carry a skunk wherever I go,
And say that he’s got diarrhoea.

They used to call me stinky Al,
Until I learned a cunning trick.
“What’s that smell?” I hear you ask,
“It’s my skunk, he’s very sick”.

The Ballad of Bridge 34

He’d seen it all from his booth on the toll bridge.
From his crude wooden shack that held off the rain.
Beneath him ran the creek, a meandering blue streak.
Above, the rusted struts of a cantilevered frame.

From his worn leather chair he’d seen countless acts of romance.
The valley a stage for declarations of love.
Each illicit kiss, each secretive tryst.
Recalled to him his sweetheart, his Mary, his dove.

Through the sliding glass window he’d seen love turn to hatred.
A thousand wedding rings cast into the abyss.
Vicious verbal combat, tears and bitter words spat.
Were a mirror for his own loss of marital bliss.

Beyond love and hate, the bridge had seen tragedy.
He had 911 on speed dial on his old service phone.
Car smashes and suicides, jumpers and drowners.
He felt them more deeply now that he was alone.

He’d though he’d seen it all from his booth on the toll bridge.
But he didn’t see it coming when his dove flew away.
Whilst performing his duties, his Mary had been fruity.
With the jerk of a toll clerk from Bridge 38.

It’s hard to be normal when you live in a toll booth.
The bridge was his real love, and that’s the sad truth.

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.