penguin

On Escaping from Nature

The birds are at it again,
arguing about Brexit
from their branches;

the smug song of a starling,
the crows’ cry
of blue murder,

and the inexpert chatter
of a so-called chaffinch.
Across the street,

a dog cocks its leg
against a lamppost
in protest against

the chronic neglect
of the National Health Service.
A leaf lies ignored

on the pavement
it slept on last night,
and dreams of home.

Further out,
in surrounding fields,
cows hold seminars

on the refugee crisis
and the pigs debate
what to do about Syria.

Goats stare bleakly
from desolate crags,
remembering Trump.

Soon it will be time
for the penguins to march
against global warming.

I do what I can
to keep nature at bay,
drown it out

with radio or TV,
find refuge
in the tranquillity of Twitter.

But it’s late now
and outside
I can hear the owls

calling parliament
into session
once more.

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Penguin Awareness

I’ve been aware of penguins
since I was three
and now I think that one
has moved in with me.

The signs are everywhere:
the saltwater smell in the air,
moulted feathers on my chair,
a fish I found upon the stair,

but when I turn around
there’s no one there,
for he moves in the shadows,
like Tony Soprano.

I am forever stepping in guano.

I’m not sure why
he’s come to live with me.
There are better places
for him to be.

But, when I go to bed,
his soft heels tread
across the kitchen floor,

and I hear him open
the freezer door

and I picture him there,
thinking about the hand
that life has dealt him

and I wonder
if his heart is melting.