31 January 2012

Tuesday Poem: Zoopermarket

Big cats patrol the aisles.
At the checkouts, baboons preen and groom
while parrots chatter through the speakers.

Sloth and sun-bear
peccary and panda
lie snoring on the shelves.

Wolves in the warehouse.
In the freezers, walrus and penguin
cherish the ice and cold.

The manager's a mongoose
and was that a rhino
pushing trolleys to the trolley park?

At the zoo, there's trouble.
Visitors want chimpanzees, not cereals
and who put tinned fruit in the tigers' cage?

Corn chips in place of cheetahs
lightbulbs for lizards
elephants replaced by Edam cheese.

Only the zebras remain.
Their stripes are barcodes
scanned by the winter sun.

Credit note: This poem was published in Poetry Pudding, an anthology of poetry for children edited by Jenny Argante.

Tim says: I have rarely tried to write poetry for children, other than the occasional reassuring ditty for my son when he was young (sample: "There's No Volcanoes Here"). This is the only published exception, and I'm still quite fond of it.

You can check out all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog - the hub poem in the middle of the page, and all the other poems in the sidebar on the right.


Mike Crowl said...

Lots of fun, Tim. Some people seem to write as much poetry for children as for adults; others only 'chance' upon a children's poem once in a blue moon it seems.

Meliors Simms said...

made me smile, thanks Tim

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Mike and Meliors.

Mike, I'm very much in the "chance" camp, but I'd be happy to chance on children's poems more often.

Penelope said...

I enjoyed this Tim; once I got past my ignorant fear that it would be something extremely difficult, perhaps with lashings of German...When I write for children (which is seldom) it ends up with a horrible educative tone, as if there's a hidden school teacher inside me. I loved the fun of this vision, although I do note the slight sadness of the 'winter sun' at the end. Loss often sneaks into this poetry thing!

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Penelope. I am mystified by your expectation of difficulty and lots of German, though.

Indeed it does turn a little sombre at the end - it's the poetic equivalent of "The Hobbit", but shorter and with less breakage of dishes.

Penelope said...

To explain my appalling ignorance, I thought that Zoopermarket was a German thing...Or even Dutch.

The similarity to The Hobbit didn't occurred to me. Perhaps because of the total absence of hobbits?

Helen Lowe said...

Yay, fun! Maybe you should do more for kids?

Elizabeth Welsh said...

Love the manager as a mongoose! This is such fun, Tim. You should 'chance' upon children's poetry more often, for sure!!

Novroz said...

Fun poem...but no turtle there :(

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, everyone. It's nice to know this one has struck a chord!

Penelope: "The true hobbit is the hobbit who does not appear" (Nietzsche)

Helen and Elizabeth: I was a bit ambivalent about this poem when I posted it, but the feedback I'm getting is certainly encouragement in that direction!

Novia: Guilty as charged! I agree this is a flaw in the poem, and I can only plead that I didn't know of your commitment to all things turtle when I wrote it. If I ever rewrite it, I will make sure to include a turtle verse :-)

Rachel Fenton said...

This was lovely. Beautiful gentle and thoughtful ending.

I've written a few stories and poems for my daughter - as such they remain.

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Rachel! I think those stories and poems may have inspired your daughter, judging from the excellence of her own poem that you posted recently :-)

Isabel Doyle said...

This is fabulous Tim - grocery expeditions will never be the same!
I especially loved the bar-code zebras.

Isabel x