Sit down next to me…

From a conversation overheard in the Old Number 7 pub, Barnsley. A poem.

‘I once shit on a tortoise,’ he blithely said.
This pulled me up short, and, mid-slurp, turning my head,
I looked across the bar to locate the voice
Of the man who’d divulged defecating on a tortoise.
Two tables away the interlocutor sat –
This shameless soul who had, he claimed, once shat,
Though I had yet to clearly ascertain why –
On a Chordate of the order Testudinidae…
He was an ordinary looking bloke
Made interesting only by the words that he spoke –
Certainly you would never have guessed from his face
That he’d ever dropped his guts on a reptile’s hard carapace.
A Barnsley football top, blue jeans, shaved skull,
Disreputable trainers and an exceedingly dull
Delivery, and yet the content of his talk
Had caused me to abandon my pint of Blonde and gawk.
Now, not known for their speed, this was hardly a feat
Of precision bombing, not hard to complete
I supposed – no need for careful arse/eye coordination –
But somehow the exploit caught my imagination.
‘Have you really shit on a tortoise?’ I asked.
A smug grin, you could see that he basked
In his dirty deed’s highly dubious fame –
That he was proud of his boastful scatological claim.
‘I did,’ he confirmed, ‘and, what’s more, I’d do it again.’
For fuck’s sake, did this mucky bastard have no shame?
‘But why?’ I was duly compelled to enquire.
He put down his glass, and his voice getting higher,
‘In protest, my friend,’ he firmly disclosed.
‘Against Blair and Bush and the supposed
Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.’
So that was it – a remonstration in reptile and cack…
Peaceful and visually effective – albeit slightly absurd –
One man’s defiance, delivered with a tortoise and a turd.


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