The Otis Files. Tribute to an Old Friend – Otis, I Notice 1

And she also has stripes on one leg at the back... Otis, Queen of the house - apparently.

And she also has stripes on one leg at the back… Otis, Queen of the house – apparently.

Otis was a friend that I lived with for 16 years. We moved many times, from the forest to beside the highways and many places in between, and she was always there, somewhere in the background, usually no more than 12 feet away from me. She wasn’t a lap cat, nor a smoochy cat, but we had a very special friendship and I miss her very much. I truly hope I see her again some day. This is the first installment of my 8-part tribute to her. Continue reading

Excuse me Mr Morepork

Oh morepork, though you summon me
From sentry post in yonder tree
I wonder what your thoughts would be
If I did eat your family

And there, the lamp post shines so bright
And tempts your dinner to its light
So turn your wee head so I might
Steal all your eggs into the night.

The Tuatara

* Mundane explanation bit: A morepork, otherwise known as a Ruru in the Maori language, is a wee nocturnal owl who sounds like he’s saying ‘Morepork! Morepork!’ when he calls. The tuatara, meaning ‘peaks on the back’ in Maori, is a lizard endemic to New Zealand, from a very old species dating back to the dinosaurs. It’s often referred to as a ‘living dinosaur’. I have no idea whether a tuatara would eat a morepork’s eggs, given the chance. I was just being silly.

A Morepork. Photo courtesy of 'in paradise', Flikr.

A Morepork. Photo courtesy of ‘in paradise’, Flikr.

Dedicated to Thai Roosters

One morning in Bangkok, we were up quite early thanks to the enthusiasm of at least seven roosters on the other side of the Wat wall. I discovered that I had written a poem about them in my sleep. It goes like this:

Oh cockerels, how keen are thee
To outcrow those who whisper not
Methinks the contest prize should be
A hatchet sharp and boiling pot.

I don’t do mornings…

The Gentle Way of Phart

Before I came to India
I took the Phart for granted
Then a case of Dehli Belly
Made my view of Pharting slanted

So now I Phart most carefully
With delicate control
(To Phart with gay abandon
Means to first find toilet bowl)

Now, if I see a meditator
Seemingly in trance
I wonder to myself
If he is merely trying to Phart

I vow that I will never take
My flatulence for granted
‘Cos now I know, in India,
A Phart is carefully planted

It takes a honed technique
True, ’tis a fine and noble art
So now I am a Master
Of the Gentle Way of Phart

And when I’m gone from India,
Back home in my country
How well I will appreciate
My Pharts can now fly free.

Ode to Indian Railways

I thought I was intrepid
Flying ‘cross the world
Till I met with Indian trains
That thrashed my bod and bashed my brains
And rendered me to curled, pathetic
Urchin-like remains

Ne’er again will I set forth
“Intrepid be my name”
I’ll worry ’bout which platform
And how to step ’round rat swarms
And when to wake
And how to make out
Hindi station names

I was the proud adventurer
(a conqueror of travel all)
But then I had to learn to squat
With pants half mast
Whilst being rocked
Above a stainless steel hole
Smeared with (stuff I won’t say here)
Then try to wash my derriere
Long live the porcelein bowl

I’m now a humbled westerner
Who cringes at the blasting horn
And knows now why it sounds forlorn
(Tis sympathy the train does give
For those about to newly live
Intrepid journeys on the lines)
God help them, they’re about to find out…
Dude! Don’t board that bluddy train –
When you arrive, you’ll be insane!