30 MAY 1992, Page 42

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Park theme


In Competition No. 1729 you were in- vited to write a piece of light verse about a visit to a drab, depressing, thinly populated 'wild life park'.

The gnu's gone for glue and the kudu has flu, The impala has hopped it and moved to a zoo.. .

Simon Davies's lines summed up my own experience in Wales with my five- year-old son. After passing some dreary cages with cheery notices such as 'Walla- bies will be back next week!', the dis- appointed Edward leapt towards some vegetation with the cry 'There's an alliga- tor, Dad!' There indeed was an alligator made of stone.

Thank you, the three people who sent me A. E. Housman's poem 'Purple Wil- liam, or the Liar's Doom', which.ends with the memorable line, 'The purple orphan was alone.' Thank you, too, Peter Nor- man, Tim Hopkins, Philip Dacre and Basil Ransome-Davies, for enjoyable entries for this week's competition. The prizewinners, printed below, get £20 each, and the bonus bottle of Aberlour Single Malt whisky goes to Alanna Blake for an irresistible 'clever- clogs' performance.

They're all around, those vivid yellow eyes Gleaming through glass. We spy on Brave dandelions under weeping skies; But where's the blooming lion?

I've seen more zebras in a city street And that sleek jaguar Just like these pandas has four wheels not feet - Another motor car. These grazing herds are cows, not wildebeest. It died, the lone giraffe.

If you've a sense of humour, then at least Hyenas raise a laugh.

When I consider what they make us pay 'To view the great man-eaters', Then I conclude this park we see today Is full of cheats, not cheetahs.

(Alanna Blake) All things pale and loitering, All creatures sad and stark, Are yours for just a tenner At Grimes Safari Park.

Those claustrophobic zebra With stripes of black and grey Were made for something better A long, long way away; The lion stares at the Volvo But never leaves the scrub, He cut his teeth on mudguards When he was just a cub; The paint's come off the turnstile, The grass is like a rash, The ostrich has no feathers, But Grimes still gets his cash. (Nick Syrett) Tiger, Tiger, looking glum In this social vacuum, Where are your mates and enemies? Where the warmth of jungle trees?

Who designed this fenced terrain, A small-scale model of a plain, Where three gazelles make up a herd, With one drab secretary bird?

And who devised this grassless ground Where one crazed goat goes round and round?

Who thought a muddy hole quite big Enough to house a full-grown pig?

What creature thought this place would be A cynosure and sanctuary For animals — an open zoo?

I hope that he's been locked up too.

(Katie Mallett) When your life is getting boring And your wife is feeling blue, Why not visit Regis Goring With its lovely private zoo?

There's an ostrich in the yard park Wearing elegant long pants, And in the woods an aardvark Burrows hard for British ants. From an island in Lake Diamond You may see a chimpanzee Driven crazy by confinement Claw the water frenziedly.

You can hear a lion voicing Its ambition to be dead, And you'll trundle home rejoicing That you're not a quadruped.

(Richard Blomfield)