TP logo

| Books | Music | Events | New work | Contact & ordering

Lay for the Day
27th April

1828: the Zoological Gardens in Regent’s Park, better known as London Zoo, opens its gates for the first time.


In the Snake House, over scummed concrete, they
raise their heads and stare point-blank past those who pay.
Some lie thick as tyres, asleep. Inertia
doesn’t exist behind their glass. They dream
no dreams. If we tried to live there, pressure
would smear us thin as our reflections seem,
margarine-yellow and with hollow blue bruises
for eyes. Their wills police their whole bodies
and their heads are hard. One green one cruises
lithely from a pool, its eyes regardless
as split-shot. They move so slowly, time loses
heart. We fidget in coats, thinking we’ve spent
our money well, only later to relent.
“They shouldn’t live there, and die, and not kill.”


John Gibbens
from A Wild Inhabitation


If you wonder where the last rhyme went: this is part of a sequence in which the end of each poem rhymes with the first two lines of the next.


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

Home | Books | Music | Events | New work | Contact & ordering