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York in Poetry: The Creature from the Chocolate Lagoon

Posted on 24 November 2012 | Audio, Poem

Always, on a Friday it happened -
Before they clocked off. Like it knew
It was home time, have a brew time, finish
Early time.
The creature.
Along the conveyor belt and into the whirlpool of

Chocolate it dived. It looked like a bird, no,
Maybe a giraffe – or partly a lizard.
Brenda said – all lizard , from where she was standing.
But Barry said – no. Not a lizard from where, at the top
Of the stairs he was stood. More like an anteater, with
The tail of a bushbaby – and the haunted eyes of
A cat, with eight lives used up. And Archie ran at it -
And grappled it down – and they thought – ha!! – at last
we’ve got you. But no way – ho-say .. …
The creature was smart as an alley cats dad – as a slippery
Eel, as a box of delicious after dinner whatsits .. …
And it squeezed right out of young Archie’s grasp and ran

Pell-mell and coated itself into the nougat and coated
Itself like some weird sugared ghost.
The shape of the head, why -
It almost had antlers – and the feet were the best -
All six of them made of pure marzipan and the blue
Of its nose – well it fair made you shudder.
But Angela – new to the finishing room – was the one
Who managed to calm it , managed to talk it down and
Turn things around. She knew its language (how we don’t know)
She lived in Tang Hall and spoke Esperanto and was
Learning Italian at night class in Burnholme – so the creature
Seemed calmer, knew that it could trust her.
She took it home on the Number Ten bus.
Her mam, a kind soul – fed it fish fingers, baked beans.
And so, it is that the Creature from the Chocolate Lagoon
Still lives there.
And, as Angela says – such creatures are rare.
And the friendship it craved – was all that it wanted.
Just for someone to speak kindly and show that they care.
It waves her off, and packs up her lunch box -
And is trying real hard , with Italian.

- Helen Burke