hands off!

you know them
by their desert boots and thick wool socks
shirts in primary colours for proper definition
those khaki shorts
barnacled colonials in the tropics used to favour
state-of-shoot waistcoats with a dozen slots
for light meters and dedicated fiddly bits

and uberposse disposition
sky and earth no limit
measuring tweaking outglibbing
one another half a day
and then a wrangler’s crozier
down my hole to drag me out

as if sunshine’s not hard enough
on one lightshy as me
a lamp in the face and ‘rolling’
and a voice starting everything with ‘I’
the ‘I Monster’ commentary
you know isn’t Attenborough’s
’cause he puts us first and speaks third person
and has the grace not to handle

‘I’m riskin it here’ the monster confides
‘one bite and…’
alas i’ve not had much luck
how brave he must be
to stroke my clamped muzzle

i wouldn’t mind if they’d come
to save my habitat
or bring a meal on wheels
but they’re here for footage they can sell
and a photo op as if i were the Dalai Lama
now there’s a priest i’d like my picture with

and in no time they attract the flies
buzzed out by safaris and Juan-les-Pins
craving remoter delights
a venturer opens holistic retreat down the way
and they swarm five days four nights
fly back to significants and upholstered pets
to show trophies on camera
feeling one up when they’re asked
‘where the hell is that?’

the one in charge shouts ‘cut!’
and i slither off to check
if anything’s been severed
fat lot of good they do that lot
with all their fussin and fartin about
there’ll not be a rat to be had for days

48 thoughts on “hands off!

  1. I looked up ‘uberposse’ but couldn’t find it.
    I understood what you meant though.

    ‘I Monster’ commentary
    you know isn’t Attenborough’s
    ’cause he puts us first and speaks third person
    and has the grace not to handle.
    🙂

    this one is one of your best.
    Gavin.

  2. Brother john – Nice turn of perspective. Documentary from the animal’s (snake’s?) point of view. I laughed out loud at the last three lines:

    a lot of good they do that lot
    with all their fussin and fartin about
    there’ll not be a rat to be had for days

  3. Oh John
    My heart leaped at your words and I’m so happy you are here ….I’ve missed you and your wild and lovely poems , deeply felt and causing wonder ….
    ( I said to myself , John took a break from writing and it somehow makes it seem ok for me too ) so thank you my friend …..sending love always , meg

  4. Upholstered pets… I like that! The vaguely described wild animal narrating your poem is certainly not one of those comfy creatures. I am thinking a serpent in spite of the muzzle. I would imagine a serpent having such an ironic tone – if he could speak.

  5. Something distinctly cinematic in this poem has captivated me… Great optical effect in the minimalism of the descriptions of your verses, dear John… Love it… All the best to you! 😀

  6. Your sense of anger at the injustice with which we treat nature is palpable, John. Of course we must remember that we are the ‘chosen species’ so therefore have carte blanche and can do what we want. Hmm. I’m very much with you here.

  7. Reblogged this on ' Ace Friends News ' and commented:
    Great post John and it reminds me of when l was a child and my parents dressed me in a ‘ Safari Suit ‘ did l look and feel like a fool and children took the Pee of course … I nicknamed it my Safari So-Goody Suit ahh those not so golden childhood memories … ⭐️😊👍

  8. Wonderful stuff, John. The first line – You know them by their desert boots and thick wool socks – made me think of my son (twelve years in the Army, three in the Middle East).

  9. Oh that is exactly what I was thinking about when I wrote my last blog. Thanks goodness there are people driven by love for all the creatures who pick up the bits and pieces and do their best to restore the damage.
    Thank you for this powerful piece, and for loving those whom we share this world with.

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