The Copenhagen giraffe


Here is a poem, which the author has given me permission to share. He is Richard Bonfield, the poet who wrote that wonderful pice on Badgers which Virginia McKenna breathed life into …

He was so moved by the plight and tragedy of Marius, that he has created this amazing piece.

I think it says some thing which we all feel, but find hard to express.

Enjoy !


Baby giraffe
Baby giraffe

The Copenhagen Giraffe

Marius the 18-month-old Copenhagen giraffe was recently shot with a bolt gun and his dismembered remains fed to Copenhagen lions.

The director of the zoo deemed him an exotic waste product surplus to the zoos requirements and untenable as his genes were too similar to those of other European giraffes.

Despite offers of accommodation from many other facilities and a worldwide petition the cull went ahead as planned.

Yes – in answer to your question

We shot Marius for his own good

He was an exotic waste product S

urplus to Copenhagen requirements

In any case he wouldn’t have liked

Longleat – Whipsnade or any other facility for that matter

He loved Copenhagen – the little mermaid girl

And was familiar with all of Hans Christen Anderson’s back catalogue

Could we have sent him to Africa?

Well no

He was a Copenhagen giraffe

And was actually Too culturally advanced for the Masai Mara

In any case he would have had awful problems

Incorporating his porcelain sensibilities

Into a post colonial framework

He was familiar with the works of Franz Fanon

And was aware of the economic and ecological distortions

Imposed by the former colonial oppressors

But how could we keep him in Copenhagen?

We have too many culturally advanced giraffes already

Our city is awash with sophisticated long necked quadrupeds

And they are so well integrated into the urban ecology

That – to the people of Copenhagen

They are almost a civic emblem!

We love seeing them at the opera

And poking their heads through the skylights

Of our downtown loft conversions

But we do have a surfeit or – as the Dutch would say

An embarrassment of riches

And we must cull to ensure the livelihood of all Copenhagen giraffes moving forward

So far better that Marius be fed as ersatz pork to our bacon loving Copenhagen lions

Than wander across the savannah pondering Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle

With no other giraffes to share the tale of The Little Match Girl

The Tinder Box- -The Emperor’s new Clothes or even The Ugly Duckling

No – in answer to your question we could never have turned Marius into a Namibian swan

You can take the giraffe out of Copenhagen

But you cannot take Copenhagen out of the giraffe

Also his public dismemberment was charmingly instructive

For all the Copenhagen schoolchildren

All in all I am pleased with our work

And so pleased that the death of Marius

Was so enriching for all concerned

It is a modern fairy tale that Hans himself would have been proud of

Especially in these times of environmental recycling

Actually we are thinking of having a sculpture of him made

To place beside the little mermaid.

It would be a fitting tribute!

Now you must excuse me whilst I prepare for other urban culls

I am a very busy man.”


Richard Bonfield c February 2014