In the park it’s National Poetry Day. The swings and roundabouts will later chant their verses at each other. I don’t expect much. However, the Rubber Duck that the toddlers rock back and forth on has written a heroic epic about those 28,000 yellow plastic ducks jettisoned in the Pacific in 1992. Pretty much talks up the courage and scientific zeal of storm-freed toys. Makes a case for these ‘Galileo’s of Oceanography’, as the title has it. My favourite lines are –

‘Half a wave, half a wave/Swam the 28,000.’

Reminds me of something. Stirring stuff. The ground-level trampolines (thanks Bristol Council Parks) bounced with joy. And they should know.

What disturbs me about the Rubber Duck’s poem is how, in extolling the virtues of these haphazard and wayward florescent pseudo-water fowl (mere drifters in my book), the poem refuses to recognize the valour and determined apathy of others – notably the blue plastic turtles and green plastic frogs – who also did their bit for our knowledge of how ocean currents move and shift small, light-weight, fantastically-coloured toys around the heaving waters of this choking planet of ours. Later, bored witless by the Baby Swings recitation of their self-penned classic,

‘Up and Down, Back and Forth!
Forth and Back, Down and Up’,

and to the Roundabouts’ immortal

‘Round and Round and Round and Round and….’

I considered the fickle nature of History, and its lost voices.

‘We few blue
shell-shocked thousands
and green hordes
of amphibious wart-wracked frogs…’

I must work on this for next year’s National Poetry Day. Mustn’t I?

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