When the nine o’clock train arrived late at ten two,
Mr Heron got out in a huff;
he was making his way to see Warrington Zoo,
walked too fast, and was soon out of puff.
When he got there, the stalls were inside a grey wall,
and arranged like a series of sheds
in no order at all, high or wide, large or small,
where the animals lay in their beds.
They mostly stayed hid, and were loath to come out,
so the eye rarely saw them at all;
the giraffe and the elephant wandered about
in plain view, just because they were tall.
It was really quite creepy; the birds sang off key,
the hyenas laughed loud, but all hollow;
the monkeys were sad, all the chimps watched TV,
hippos couldn’t be bothered to wallow.
Heron searched for an hour (and the parrots all swore)
when at last, in a cage on the corner
titled ‘meerkat’ he saw, on the straw covered floor,
mother Mongoose, who looked like a mourner.
They had left her with beetles to eat, and no snakes,
and she looked like she’d rather be seen
almost anywhere else with no naming mistakes,
or at least in a cage that was clean.
“Mrs Newla,” said Heron; “I’ve come to advise
that your daughter is wanting a witness
in a case in the courts, to oppose the damned lies
that deny that for rights you’ve a fitness.
Is it warm in your cell? Tell me, are you quite well?
I can see that you’d leave, if you could;
for there’s also a dreadful and terrible smell
of new creosote soaked into wood.”
He inclined his grey head, and he thought she’d declare
that she’d die to get out of her shack;
but she lay breathing feebly in listless despair,
and the beetles ran over her back.
She was wearing no clothes; for she gave them away
to her daughter, along with the ruby -
after all that her offspring had striven to say,
was she deaf? Did she think him a booby?
He went all through their tale in the back of his mind,
and he stroked his moustache with a frown.
Had she lost all her will in a cage, so confined?
Or instead, did she think him a clown?
Then he saw what was wrong. He bowed low to the ground,
and without the appearance of slyness
he prostrated himself, then got up with a bound,
and announced, with a flourish, “Your highness!”