Saturday, 14 May 2011
The Zoo and the Poet - Joan Lennon
I have a fantasy. Well, I have many fantasies, but this is one of them.
I am Poet-in-Residence at the Edinburgh Zoo. By day, I wander among the crowds, the hosts of golden, er, people, and recite poetry at them/get them to write poems with me/babble enthusiastically about alliteration, haiku, rhythm and only if absolutely unavoidable, rhyme/do more of what I already do in zoos (to the embarrassment of many) i.e. accost complete strangers and say things like, "If you stand here you can see better" or "Look - there - no, there - oh, it just walked behind that rock ..." I would help the keepers muck out and practise spider monkey facial language assiduously and soon get that wonderful inner look of one who can honestly say "I'm not a tourist - I live here." Because I would. I'd have my own enclosure, where the public could watch me write, be creative, hatch out words, just like the blue beauty nesting in the picture above. They (the public) would be discouraged from banging on the glass or passing comments such as "Oh, look - isn't she funny?!" I would reserve the right to throw poo at them if they did so anyway. Or when the writing stalled. Or just for the fun of it. And then, at nightfall, I would stay when everyone else had gone, and find out just what a deserted zoo by moonlight looks and sounds and feels like.
That's it. You can keep your Poet Laureateships and your Nobel Prize-winning - give me the post of Zoo Poet any day.
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