Alexander Averin

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Copenhagen Giraffe

I do hope the poet Richard Bonfield will forgive me for reposting his poem.

The Copenhagen Giraffe

Marius the 18-month-old Copenhagen giraffe was recently shot with a bolt gun
and his dismembered remains fed to Copenhagen lions.
The director of the zoo deemed him an exotic waste product surplus to the zoos requirements and untenable as his genes were too similar to those of other European giraffes
Despite offers of accommodation from many other facilities and a worldwide petition the cull went ahead as planned.

“Yes - in answer to your question
We shot Marius for his own good
He was an exotic waste product
Surplus to Copenhagen requirements
In any case he wouldn’t have liked
Longleat – Whipsnade  or any other facility for that matter
He loved Copenhagen -  the little mermaid girl
And was familiar with all of Hans Christen Anderson’s back catalogue
Could we have sent him to Africa?
Well no
He was a Copenhagen giraffe
And was actually
Too culturally advanced for the Masai Mara
In any case he would have had awful problems
Incorporating his porcelain sensibilities
Into a post colonial framework
He was familiar with the works of Franz Fanon
And was aware of the economic and ecological distortions
Imposed by the former colonial oppressors
But how could we keep him in Copenhagen?
We have too many culturally advanced giraffes already
Our city is awash with sophisticated long necked quadrupeds
And they are so well integrated into the urban ecology
That - to the people of Copenhagen
They are almost a civic emblem!
We love seeing them at the opera
And poking their heads through the skylights
Of our downtown loft conversions
But we do have a surfeit or - as the Dutch would say
An embarrassment of riches
And we must cull to ensure the livelihood of all Copenhagen giraffes moving forward
So far better that Marius be fed as ersatz pork to our bacon loving Copenhagen lions
Than wander across the savannah pondering Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle
With no other giraffes to share the tale of The Little Match Girl
The Tinder Box- -The Emperor’s new Clothes or even The Ugly Duckling
No -  in answer to your question we could never have turned Marius into a Namibian swan
You can take the giraffe out of Copenhagen
But you cannot take Copenhagen out of the giraffe
Also his public dismemberment was charmingly instructive
For all the Copenhagen schoolchildren
All in all I am pleased with our work
And so pleased that the death of Marius
Was so enriching for all concerned
It is a modern fairy tale that Hans himself would have been proud of
Especially in these times of environmental recycling
Actually we are thinking of having a sculpture of him made
To place beside the little mermaid.
It would be a fitting tribute!
Now you must excuse me whilst I prepare for other urban culls
I am a very busy man.”

                Richard Bonfield February 2014 


Mac n' Janet said...

I was horrified when I read what they did with the giraffe. Thank you for the poem.
I hope there's a special circle in hell for people who do things like this.

donna baker said...

Unbelievable. When are animals going to get the rights they deserve?

Countryside Tales said...

It was a very shocking thing to have happened. Even if you allowed that the shooting may have been necessary (which I don't), the public dismemberment was totally unnecessary and repugnant.

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

I was incensed when I heard this had been done. How absolutely abominable that they didn't send him to somewhere else! It was about money and expense, that's why they vetoed that idea, no other.

Marianne said...

This is a truly horrifying story and breaks my heart. I was in Copenhagen last summer and the Danish seem so civilised. I can't believe they would do this to this beautiful creature.

Cottage Garden said...

I was shocked at the Danes for this horrific act. I have always thought of them as very fair and civilised people. Truly shocking. Thank you for the poem Cait.