Friday, 21 October 2016

There's a skeleton of a rockhopper penguin in Manchester Museum

You've heard about The Rockhoppers? No? You can go here to find out about this new Poetry group:

Here's a poem about Rockhoppers. I wrote it for the first gig of The Rockhoppers -- on National Poetry Day at The Brown's in Laugharne.

There’s a skeleton of a rockhopper penguin in Manchester Museum

Red eyes,
orange beaks,
spiky feathers of yellow and black
on their heads.
Their feet are webbed,
and pink.
Colourful little buggers.

They shout their news and gossip
to all their great colonies
as they hop across rocks,
breeding in their thousands
all out there in public.
Noisy little fuckers.

In the same nest each year,
they mostly couple with the same mate.

Sod that new relationship stuff,
all that watchin and waitin
and will-she-won’t-she…
will he, won’t he…
Stick with what you know, mate,
life’s too short.

And so are they, very short,
the smallest penguins,
about 20 inches tall.

They make up for that,
they are (still)
the most numerous penguins on the planet
(must be all that noisy public breeding).

But rockhoppers are in decline.
And there is a long way to fall.
They are, officially, ‘vulnerable’
close to ‘endangered’.

It’s the other Rockhopper,
the one with no feathers,
the one that deals only in black stuff,
and share prices.
No colourful feathers, red eyes, or  pink feet,
not even an orange beak…
and the black rockhopper
goes quietly, softly,
almost unnoticed.

Rockhopper Exploration PLC
found oil,
one billion barrels of it
in the North Falkland basin.
The first will flow in 2020.

There won’t be many rockhopper penguins
left in the Falklands,
or anywhere else, by then,

but, after all,
there is a skeleton
of a rockhopper penguin
in Manchester Museum

 one appears on the company’s logo,
preserved there in black and white,
so long as the oil will flow.

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