Michael Rosen
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Pelicans

My Mum told me that
when I was two
she took me to St James’s Park
to see the pelicans.

I looked in books at pelicans.
Great big pelicans
with beaks like shopping bags

She said:
one day we’ll go back to
St James’s Park to see the pelicans.

I said:
Yes, let’s

She told me that
When I was three
When I was four
When I was five
When I was six
When I was seven
When I was eight
When I was nine
When I was ten

But we never did.
We never went back to St James’s Park
to see the pelicans.

Sixty years later
I went
on my own
to St James’s Park
to see the pelicans.

I walked across the grass,
over to the water.
I so wanted to see the pelicans.
I looked
But there were none.
No pelicans.

So I walked along by the side of the water
And I thought of me being two years old
And my mother being thirty years old
And how I must have looked at the pelicans.

And I carried on walking,
I walked over a little bridge
And I looked out across the water
And…
…there was a pelican.
And another
And another
And so they were there:
the pelicans
standing with their beaks
like shopping bags
and I thought of:
me being two years old
and my mother being thirty years old
and the pelicans being there
and not being there
and then being there after all,
the pelicans.

 

 

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