Sophie Hannah – Mountains out of small hills*



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.

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