Dogs are objecting to the word dogmatic,
the use of certain phrases – barking mad,
dog in the manger. Equally emphatic
are other species. Rats and snakes have had
enough of being symbols of deceit
and treachery. They say there’s no excuse
and there are fish protesting on the street
at being linked with alcohol abuse.
You couldn’t taunt a coward nowadays
with ‘scaredy-cat’ or ‘chicken’. Cock-and-bull
stories have been renamed. Nobody says
‘God, she’s a cow!’ Nobody pulls the wool
over another person’s eyes – the lambs
have seen to that. Nobody rabbits on.
Nor has there been a ramraid since the rams
petitioned parliament. We do not swan
around, get goosebumps; nothing gets our goat.
No cricket player ever scores a duck.
Once we were free with what we said and wrote.
Now we make do with swear-words. Bollocks. Fuck.
*Reproduced with Sophie Hannah’s permission.