Julia Griffin


Scarborough’s Care

For Jack, the Walrus Muse

(thanks to Lewis Carroll)

“New Year fireworks cancelled… to protect an Arctic walrus discovered in Scarborough.
The event was called off over fears it ‘could cause distress to the mammal’.
Council leader Steve Siddons said he was disappointed but ‘the welfare of the walrus
has to take precedence’. The walrus, which drew huge crowds after arriving on Saturday,

is now believed to have headed out into the North Sea.”
BBC News

The wind was pounding on the sea,
The air was sharp and drear:
And this could not be reckoned odd,
But de rigueur, I fear,
In coastal northern Yorkshire at
The turning of the year.

The shore was packed as packed could be,
But hushed was every tongue;
Each street lamp wore a little shade;
No bells were being rung,
And Christmas lights in paper bags
Undazzlingly hung.

The Walrus, docked in Scarborough,
Was resting on a spar.
Arriving from the Arctic, he
Was quite the local star,
And everybody understood
His need for R ’n‘ R.

Said Mr. Siddons, councillor:
“Although our hearts may yearn
For fireworks, this custom we
Tonight must overturn:
The welfare of the walrus is
Our paramount concern,

And walruses, so all agree,
Are painfully distressed
By pyrotechnical displays,
So we believe it best
That all exuberance should be
Pacifically suppressed.”

The Walrus, guest of Scarborough,
Observed the tranquil skies,
The quiet streets, the silent wharves,
The waves like lullabies,
With not unmitigatedly
Agreeable surprise.

“What makes this town,” the Walrus thought,
“So very dark and dumb?
It’s New Year’s Eve, for goodness’ sake;
I’m feeling frolicsome;
The northern sea is calling—yes!
I think the time has come.”

Julia Griffin lives in the southeast of Georgia, USA, and/or the south-east of England. Read more about her here.