Poems of the Week

The Ballad of Wally the Walrus

by Julia Griffin

“Life coach sent in to calm Wally wars on Scilly isles …
Lizzi Larbalestier specialises in helping her clients develop ‘compassion for yourselves,
others and the planet’ … [She] was flown in … to keep the peace between Wally the Walrus
and some rather irate boatmen
The Sunday Times

“Pontoon built to help Wally the walrus rest”
BBC News

For Jack, with apologies to Cab Calloway

Folks, here’s a story ’bout Wally the Walrus:
He had a face quite dour and dol’rous;
He was a rubbery, blubbery male,
And he crashed on boats with the weight of a whale.

Ho-dee ho-dee ho
Ho-dee ho-dee ho
Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi
Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi
Hey-dee hey
Hey-dee hey

He messed around near the Isles of Scilly
(It felt like home though not so chilly):
He boarded all the boats he found
’Cause he just loved throwing his weight around.

Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi [etc.]

Soon the boatmen, turning testier,
Called a lady called Larbalestier,
An arbitrator who taught compassion,
To stop poor Wal from fish-boat-crashin’.

Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi [etc.]

She didn’t offer him gold or palaces,
She didn’t bother with psychoanalysis,
She gave that walrus his own pontoon,
Which saved his hide from a sharp harpoon.

Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi [etc.]