Oh tell me lowly little flea*
Why did you have to pick on me?
Long, long ago, when I was younger and much more nimble of mind, I had a party trick in which I asked people to give me an animal and I would immediately give them a short comic verse about said beast. (Doesn’t sound much, does it, but I could not sing, I could not juggle and the only thing I ever pulled out of a hat was my head.) During the course of this game, people would start to name ever more exotic animals in the hope of tripping me up, but as long as I knew what they were, that was actually ok. What would have defeated me was if they had all given me the same animal. (Try making up, for instance, ten different verses about a cat. I know T. S. Eliot did a book full, but he had ages and he wasn’t drunk at the time.) Anyway, I thought that I’d test myself: could I still do it? Well, in a word, no – everything takes a little longer these days – but I can still produce a little nonsense rhyme if you give me a couple of minutes. I like animals, so I thought I might give you a zoo on a ‘blank’ day for a little while – although like all things zoological, it will almost certainly evolve into something else along the way. I’m not sure how long it will maintain my interest. It might be a very small zoo, a zoo-ette perhaps, we’ll just have to see how it goes.
I won’t go for alphabetical order (although I am starting – below – with a double A), because I’m bound to think of something else after the letter has gone, so they will appear more or less as they occur to me. They will usually be very short, way below tea and biscuit length, so don’t expect a huge diversion. I have written about a dozen today, so we have a week or two in the bag, although I will, without doubt, have lost faith in many of them and hit ‘DELETE’ long before they get published. They are all strangely, childishly, innocent, but currently, I rather like them for that…
Aardvark have such funny noses,
Look like hairy, wrinkled hoses.
Why they have them, goodness knowses,
They must need them, I supposes.
*Not strictly an animal, I know, nor strictly a verse. I feel that it is probably a stretch to even call it a couplet, but it makes me smile and, let’s face it, the zoo must be full of them. For years I have had this in my files, convinced that it was written by somebody else, but I have searched and searched, and it was not. It is a small thing, but all my own…