Poems of the Week

Missing Beasts

by Ruth S. Baker

“New Zealand zoos strive to entertain lonely inhabitants amid lockdown…
Rhinos keep turning up for their belly rubs, and giraffes have been keeping their [“meet the public”] appointments, but there is no one to watch them”
The Guardian

The public, scared by virus-graphs,
Stay home and watch their tellies;
Who then can meet the poor giraffes,
Or rub the rhinos’ bellies?

Activities are all indoor
Throughout the nervous nation;
Meanwhile the beasts are pining for
Some human conversation.

The keepers now are on their own
(In line with Health Compliance):
They walk the llamas, spray cologne
To stimulate the lions,

Set puzzles for the kea birds,
Pay visits to the otters,
And shunt around the dairy herds;
And yet morale still totters.

The lonely meerkat mopes, morose;
The dingo’s all downhearted;
Gorillas, glad? Not even close.
The snakes? Don’t get me started.

What panzootic glumness this
Calamity unleashes!
All these amazing species miss
Our own amazing species.