Monkey Business

A Macaque on the “lam” was a story I just could not ignore. It proved to be a difficult poem, but in the end, I felt it told a good tale.

Julian’s Get-away

Certainly, no expert me
In classing vertebrates
But mem’ry serves me well upon
The order of Primates.
Which brings me to yarn, quirky
‘Bout an Old World macaque
Who AWOL went allegedly
And how he was got back.

In County of Prince Edward –
Lovely, Picton – more precise
A zoo of some exotics —
Neighbours think it less than nice.
For say, a rav’nous tiger
Cuts down some cudding cow;
One jugular incision
And where’ll be Bessie now?

Of course you must be musing
How to monkey this pertains?
So now the plot does thicken–
“Julian” broke his ball and chains.
The owners say it’s simpler,
If we can only grasp–
Meddler loosed Snow monkey
With tamp’ring of the clasp.

To catch the desperado
Cop puts out APB:
Red of face and brown of hair;
Drawing composite had he?
Also comes a caution:
“No contact”, if you please;
Monkeys of his ilk are
Maybe bearing B herpes

Jailbird’s 2 days on the run
Then found in swampy wood;
Perhaps his instincts Asian
Sensed a spa would feel real good.
Ma, Yoko and Pa, Ono
Back at Bergeron’s zoo,
Must have had some post-cards
Of the hot-springs of Honshu!

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007


Feeding My Imagination

A cooking article inspired me to do some research on the history of a national favourite. I wrote it from the perspective of the plant and gave it a bit of an edgy ending. Published in New Brunswick’s, “The Daily Gleaner” in June, 2007.

Lament of the Fiddleheads

No more will they creep up the creeks at the dawn,
Plucking and plund’ring our em’rald-crowned spawn,
Stuffing their packs with the pillage they’ve drawn—
No more will they come.

No more will they hark to the call of the fronds,
Paper-like crackle come up from the ponds,
Death-knell to winter, our breaking of bonds—
No more will they come.

No more will they give us the grandeur we’re owed,
Trooping our colour on crest once bestowed,
Emblem on wigwams and water-rigs, rowed—
No more will they come.

No more will they come out to shear and to shuck,
The curlicued croziers from moss, mire and muck,
To blanch, boil or butter, in tartlette to tuck—
No more will they come.

No more will they dub us les tetes-de-violons,
Serve us with pommes de terre, et le salmon,
The Maliseet, Passamaquoddy all gone—
No more will they come.

Who has us in peril? Who is our true foe?
We once ruled supreme, yet glum now we grow,
Since all through the farmlands there spreads such a fuss,
For our sharp-shooting rival—Asparagus!

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007

Flamingo Duo

News of a pair of male flamingos who adopted a baby chick egg and became proud parents spurred talk of the “couple” being gay. This seemed a bit of a stretch to me. Early one morning, this piece took flight.

The Legend of Carlos & Fernando

So, ‘seems that the press everywhere
Has been flaunting this fabulous pair
Of flamingos, unruffled
The world is kerfuffled
And all passers-by stop and stare.

You see, we have Carlos y ‘Nando
Who hail from the usual band o’
Big birds in the pink
(She says with a wink) —
Putting on a performance, commando.

At the start Fern and Carlos were just
Two sociable singles nonplussed
By the whole dating scene
Thought they’d break from routine
Now the media – they’ve got it sussed.

Yes, those clever wordsmithers have stressed
That this pairing of equals is blessed
With a chick under wing,
This cannot be a fling
Sure, and next they’ll fly out to Key West!

To end it off, let me just say,
This notion they’re pushing, “Oy Vey!”
Allow me, in closing
It’s we, who’re imposing
This word, what do birds know from “gay”?

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007


When a woman inadvertently took her pet cat on a trip across country, I just had to document it in a poem. This was my first poem to be published. The editor at the Gleaner took a liking to it and put it in way back in May, 2007.

Ginger Takes a Trip

Mary’s pushing fifty
Which somehow might explain
How she lugged around a suitcase
Then put it on a plane
Despite its weight, lopsided
Off-balance when it sat
Imagine her surprise to learn
She’d gone and packed her cat!

Airport staff were skeptics
And x-rayed forth and back
Some wondered if a turkey
Was lurking in the sack
This should have beeen a clue, methinks
She might at least have thought:
“There must be something in my case
I’ve accidentally brought.”
But no! And so, the bag went through
And flew they three hours nearly
Then drove almost another two
I tell you most sincerely–
No cat of mine would fail to whine
If put through jaunts like these
She’s Calico, or so we’re told
She can’t be Siamese!
Now only after checking in
And dining out, no less
Did Mary open up her bag
(I’m thinking, to undress)
Behold and lo! Grey-tufted hair
Out-sticks from ‘neath her gear
And Ginger calmly turns her way
Wide-eyed and with no fear.
Our lady, stunned and startled
Unquiet, she does yowl.
The coin is dropped, the pieces fit
Here be no festive fowl!
A cell-call back to N.B.
Reveals not much, she finds
The husband knows no better
Ginger missing? No one minds.
But all ends well in “Mary-land”
Kitty gets a carry-case
And flying home, no charge, it proves
The airline shows some grace
Now there is quite a tale to share
Though not one would I boast
Was it a mere co-incidence
She’d booked the “Pillar’n’Post”?
Kathleen Mortensen © 2007

Concerted Effort

A Canada Day festival in P.E.I. turned out to be less than the “family event” that was originally planned. Here’ s my take on the situation at the event and at large.
The Gleaner in Fredericton published this poem in their Saturday edition.

Festival of Slights

In Charlottetown, Prince Edward Isle
Debate is in session; don’t smile.
Some folks are uproaring
While others are storing
Their expletives up for a while.

The headliner band, Nickleback
On profanity, hinged ev’ry track
And underage drinking
Applauded unthinking–
Left councillors under attack.

The trend in this day seems to be,
Let anything fly – just be free
With curse and vulgarity
These days no rarity–
Hang out in a schoolyard and see.

Now debate is ongoing online;
On the Island youth think it’s just fine
To go on with their swearing,
There’s nobody caring
So, shut up, refrain from your whine!

Can’t say it’s a big shock to me
It’s happ’ning for what do we see?
“Madge’s” bold, “Mother-F…”
Sure made my lips pucker,
When she screamed it on Live Earth T.V.

The upshot of Canada Day
Is people can say what they say.
So what does it matter
If all their bad patter
Pelts down on us? F-bombs Away!

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007