I woke up this morning and my head instantly decided we were going to write about the fear of public speaking. I then read our prompt for the day “find a factual article about an animal… (that) repeats the name of the animal a lot. Now, go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something very abstract, like “sadness” or “my heart,” or something more concrete.” You should wind up with some very funny and even touching combinations, which you can then rearrange and edit into a poem.
I chose the first animal that came into my head and the dictionary. When reading, please adopt the speaking pattern and voice of Sir David Attenborough.
In sub-Saharan Africa lives a truly unique animal.
An insectivore, with a long snout that is used to sniff out food.
It has a vaguely pig-like appearance, and a body that is stout.
It’s prominently arched back is sparsely covered with coarse hairs.
It’s limbs are average and regular.
The Public Speaker.
The public speaker is nocturnal, a solitary burrowing creature that dines on termites and ants.
It has been known to devour 50,000 of them in one night.
It was once the first polysyllabic animal in many English dictionaries – but alas, no more.
In Afrikaans its name means earth or ground pig; the Dutch know how to call a spade a spade.
In the whole of its life, it eats just one fruit – the public speaker cucumber.
Symbiotic their relationship, one the other eats, then it defecates, leaving their children to grow in fertile soil by the burrow – it brings home the bacon, and hydrates the hog.
Tubular and long in tooth, the orating beast has trod the African earth for five million years.
They have never been to Madagascar.
Public speakers are two foot tall and three foot round, pale yellowish in skin, often stained ochre by their stamping ground.
In the moonlight, their elongated heads, short, thick necks and tapered tails dash from burrow to burrow.
Ears pricked, nostril hairs clotted and thick, their pin-pricked eyes on a face only a mother could love.
Both sexes of the public speaker emit strong-smelling secretions from their anal glands. No one knows why.
They pair only during the breeding season – perhaps the smell is the reason?
The female has two pairs of teats, which the young feeding from in succession.
Young public speakers are known as wafflers.
They have flaccid ears and an abundance of wrinkles, faces liked collapsed trifles.
At six months of age, the waffle can dig its own burrows and fend for itself. It becomes sexually mature on its second birthday.
The public speaker is a rather quiet animal. If you listen carefully, you may here its soft grunting as it forages for food. It will bleat if frightened.
A threatened earth pig will quickly go to ground. Dig a new burrow, then appear, arse first when the coast is clear.
Hausa magicians maintain the beast has mystical powers. With its heart, skin and nails and the root of a tree they fashion charms.
Burglars and midnight vistors of young girls use them to pass through roofs and walls and gain entry to forbidden places.
Tribes, such as the Margbetu, Ayanda, and Logo, string public speaker teeth on bracelets, hoping that fortune will smile on them.
Outside of the wild, public speakers can live for up to 23 years in captivity.
Please do leave me your thoughts and comments, I appreciate them all and will reply.