My name is Sarah and I am your guide
this morning, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys.
Please keep all your belongings close
and please, please feed the animals

Notice the peahen on your left, pruning her mate’s colours:
helping him paint the air while she waits, watches,
follows him, dressed in the sweep
of his shadow; pecks dust.

Watch orangutan Mum cuddle her baby continuously
one whole year, slow-swing him through the trees,
nuzzle him to unbroken sleep in her nest
of playful, restless dreams.

The reptile house is open today but
our lizards are cold-blooded, shy. With camouflage scales,
they’ll hide behind stones, leaves, anything to avoid being seen.
They’ll even shed their own tails to escape.

The penguin’s characteristic waddle may raise a laugh.
It walks nowhere fast but is a powerful
swimmer, reaching 9mph. Some say its wings
are a memory, or wish, of when it could fly.

Sarah James

Welcome to the ‘zoo’! Click on an ‘animal’ in the list below to hear ‘it’ talk!