Dogs and cats, rabbits and hares
little black ducks and grumpy brown bears
insecure puppies that stagger and sway
and wet shaggy hounds barking all day.

Dignified guide dogs leading the blind
the sad old draught horse towing the line
millions of insects nasty or nice
laboratory rats and experimental mice.

Elephants in India pulling down trees
some bloke in Australia keeping his bees
colourful parrots that swquak and chatter
and Mc Murphy's pigs keep getting fatter

Brindly toms that sneak through the night
standing on trash cans, spoiling to fight
camels in the desert so strong and proud
hoards of locusts in a destructive cloud

Crocs in a swamp and alligators too
beautiful zebras in Adelaide Zoo
lazy old lions in the national park
could two of everything fit in an ark?

Eagles and hawks and birds of prey
and beautiful butterflies that live for a day
Penguins and seals on the great fields of ice
or nasty little bugs like cockroaches and lice.

Tropical fish in blue coral seas
the magical dolphin so eager to please
baboons in the jungle swinging around
or thousands of starlings and pigeons in town

There's cows in the field that moo and eat grass
there's salmon, swordfish, barracuda and bass
hamsters and rats on an endless treadmill
and the great stripy tiger moving in for the kill.

Most of these creatures are taken as pets
by schoolboys, scientists, old ladies and vets
some of them work and all of them eat
and some of them stop us from getting to sleep

Pets or pests its hard to say
it depends on the person it depends on the day
one person's love is another's hate
one person's pest is another's mate.


Armful of innoculations
suitcase packed
the department of impatience,
the customs, give me flak

Delays to departures
the tinny voice says,
and a "call for Mr Archer."
I'll be here for fucking days.

I grab a cup of coffee
it tastes like liquid crap
and the price is pretty lofty
a mortage for a snack.

I departed from Sydney
arrived in New York
"But my baggage is in Rio"
I hear myself retort

"Sorry sir" she's plastic 'nice',
(me standing there in shorts)
The city's in the grip of ice
and there's snow on the weather report.

"Passport sir." he smugly snipes
as I fumble through my wallet
"We hope you have enjoyed your flight"
and I mumble to myself, "Bollocks"

The Idiot

In walks the idiot with his sunglasses out of place
in his oversized bermuda shorts and grumpy suntanned face.

He's started whinging loudly to the woman behind the desk
about his baggage being in Rio and "She'd better fix this mess!"

"What the hell am I suppose to wear?" he snaps in Aussie drawl
"New York's in the grip of ice and I'm wearing bugger all."

"I'm sorry sir, you'll have to wait 'til Tuesday night at seven,
your luggage should all be here by then, on conveyer belt eleven."

"Christ on a bike," he stomps the ground, "It'd make ya bloody spew..."
but she cut him off with "Next please.", and froze him off the queue.



The sun was only a baby, the daughter of a much older galaxy. She went through the usual throes of childhood and arrived at the usual throes of adolescence; temperamental, narcissistic and downright wilful. She often rebuked the advise of the well learned 'blue giants' and scorned the inferiority of the burned out 'red dwarfs', indeed she was the true teenager and would only learn from her own experiences. This story, however, does not so much concern itself with the growing pains of a young star, but more about her offspring, which she was going to have, come hell or high water!

She gave birth to nine children, all of them she loved without reservation even though she knew they would never be stars like her. She was fondest of her third born child and decided rather early in it's life to shower special affection upon it and nourish it until it had a unique beauty of it's own and it became the pride of her brood. The other children did not mind, they were of different temperaments anyway and went about their own business even though they never wandered from their mother's gaze.

She named her third child Terra which we belatedly called Earth. Now you could be forgiven for thinking that this story is about Earth but it is not. It is about a little part of Earth; so small that it would never be missed, should it go missing. This is the story of a little rock, born just after it's mum was born. The little rock had a violent and traumatic birth just like it's mother. It was 'spat' into existence from a particularly big volcano and flew high into the stratosphere before crashing to earth, red hot and terrified. There it lay for uncountable aeons witnessing myriad changes around it. It saw oceans boil in their fight for supremacy over fire. It saw those oceans cool, victorious, and the first of the 'green things' sprout all around it. One century it saw something really unusual, a crawling thing. It had come from the water and rested on another rock. It moved parts of itself in a manner the rock could not understand, and then slid back into the water again.
Soon other things came to visit the rock; things which never touched the ground; things which crawled past and sometimes consumed the things that never touched the ground and the things that never touched the ground sometimes consumed the things that crawled.
The little rock saw the great constellations shift in the sky and some very unusual lights move among them, It witnessed the crawling things on the ground and the things flying in the sky get bigger and bigger. One century something colossal thundered past, it seemed to tower up to the clouds and shook the earth as it moved. It squashed some of the other rocks into the mud as it went by, and it took a few centuries for those rocks to re-emerge.
The colossal things were not around all that long, they disappeared after a few thousand centuries and were largely replaced by things which were covered with a soft flexible material.
I must stress to you that a rock does not think like you or me and you might argue that a rock does not think at all! But it does. You see, just because we live a certain amount of time, we tend to think that everything can be measured by our understanding of the growth and deterioration of the things around us. This is not true. We base all our scientific research on the fact that 'if it moves' it is alive. There is no instrument on this Earth sensitive enough to measure the life-force of rocks, so we in our vain ignorance deem rocks to be lifeless. Rocks take a millennium to form even the basis of one syllable of a thought and let's face it they have got all the time in the world to do so.
Well, hundreds of thousands of years turned into tens of millions of years and the rock was just on the verge of forming it's first sentence, or to put it more correctly, it's first attempt at expressing itself to itself, when out of the sky came a grey object which gleamed with a dull metallic glint. It was descending towards the little rock at an indescribable speed blotting out the image of it's grandmother and throwing a menacing shadow across the place the little rock had just become accustomed to. The dull grey object shattered the little rock into many pieces and destroyed it just as it was about to realise who it was.

The 'crimm' who was doing a seven to ten stretch with 'hard labour' for mugging an old lady, had just finished his day of rock breaking. He happily threw down the sledge hammer with its dull grey metallic head, grunted, and started off towards the prison refectory.

John Magee 1995