The Rueful Hippopotamus

Research now seems to indicate
That hippos can communicate,
Like dolphins or the great blue whale,
With clicks. And thereby hangs a tale,
For they can hear beneath the water
Things on land they didn’t oughta,
And from the bank can hear what's said
By colleagues on the river bed.

Imagine you’re a great bull hippo,
Flumping down to take a dip-oh
In the greasy, grey Limpopo
With the girls in your seraglio.
You’ve had a hot and tiresome day
Chasing other males away.
You’ve gored them, left them sore and bleeding;
Now you are intent on breeding.

You've had your fill of the savannah.
You’re young, you’re fit, you’re top banana.
Why, every female hippolump
With big brown eyes and handsome rump
Is sure to swoon and yearn to be
The mother of your family.

Ah! Potty, with inviting lips;
And Mussy, with the sexy hips;
Heffy, with her nostrils flaring;
Lumpie, her whole midriff baring!
Yes, all will find you simply stunning.
Just one word and they’ll come running!
With thundering and galumphing stride,
You trundle to the riverside.
But nowhere, nowhere can you spy
Your eager hippopotami.

And then to your acute dismay
You hear an amorata say,
Oh, dearie me, oh, what a shocker,
Straight from Davey Jones’s locker,
Deep below the surface swirl:
“He don’t know how to treat a girl.
I don’t expect no chocs or flowers,
Or sweet-talk that will last for hours.
But when in heat and I’m his squeeze
I wish he’d simply add a “please”.

“I quite agree. (another voice)
I wish we girls could have a choice.
He’s rude and gruff and rather rough,
And isn’t even good at stuff.
He’d like to think he’s quite a stud.
I’d much prefer to doze in mud.”

(A third voice) “Yes, he’s humourless and brusque
And far too quick to use a tusk.
I quite agree with both of you.
My preference would be a zoo.
At least in zoos you laze away
With three square, well-cooked meals a day.
And if you have to mate, o.k
You do it on a Saturday
With hoards of visitors in sight.
They keep a hippo male polite.”

You’re shocked, you’re shattered, angry too.
Was the gossip aimed at you?
Such comments make a chap's skin crawl.
You never fancied them at all!
And lest you lose your pride and face,
You move off to another place,
Flumping down to take a dip-oh
In the greasy, grey Limpopo.

August 2005