*** Have you ever wondered how a giraffe gets to work? Read on and you will find out – the following poem was inspired by Darren Fidler and penned by Christopher Llewelyn. For those of you who are parents of young children, I’d suggest reading them this poem to help them understand how a multi-modal transport system is able to meet the needs of a relatively diverse range of “customers” 😉 ***


It’s a little known fact, but definitely true,

The animals only work at the zoo.

At night they go home like the rest of the staff,

The zebra, the tiger, the chimp, and giraffe.

The next day after toast, or a lightly grilled mouse,

They wash, clean their teeth, and then leave the house.

From across the whole city, they all make their way,

Back to the zoo for the start of the day.

The zebras and antelopes crammed on the bus,

Sit at the front not making a fuss.

Avoiding the back seat, the lion’s domain,

Where he sits with the crossword, scratching his mane.

Outside on the pavement in full running gear,

The bus passes by the emu and rhea.

The ostrich usually jogs with them too,

But today she’s at home with a touch of the flu.

A car toots it’s horn as it speeds past the pair,

Gripping the wheel is a grizzly bear.

A camel and llama sit in the back,

A gigantic tortoise up on the roof rack.

A few other creatures are hitching a ride,

The glove-box has twenty-two spiders inside.

In the boot still asleep, as they drive down the road,

Is a skink, and a snake, and a big warty toad.

The car stops at the lights as a train rumbles through,

Staring out of the window are two caribou.

Reading the paper in the next seat along,

Is a chimp in a hat and a salesman named John.

Grunting and mooing into their phones,

From carriage to carriage the buffalo roam.

While a family of wolves sit, snarling and yawning,

They’re best left alone first thing in the morning.

A tiger is revving his bike by the track,

In a black leather jacket with a skull on the back.

The lights at the crossing turn green from red,

And the tiger rides off on a tiny moped.

A deep growling engine fills up the air,

And a huge motorbike appears from nowhere.

The tiger looks over at the rider in pink,

And a small flying squirrel gives him a wink.

On the back of the bike holding on tight,

Sits the slow loris, her eyes wide with fright.

With a twist of the wrist, the front wheel leaves the floor,

And the pair disappear with a deafening roar.

The roar becomes muffled under the ground,

Replaced by a clickety clackety sound.

As the metro rolls by, completely jam packed,

With people in suits, mandrills, and macaques.

Reading a book as it hangs from its tail,

A lone howler monkey grips the hand rail.

While a troop of baboons squabble and fight,

A row of red bums keen to alight.

As the metro arrives at the station below,

At the gates of the zoo the air starts to blow.

The chopper’s blades whirr as it touches the floor,

And a long sturdy beast slips out of the door.

The creature is dressed in fine reptile skin,

With a single gold tooth from a lottery win.

In designer sunglasses he thinks make him cool,

The crocodile waddles away to his pool.

With three of the animals still running late,

A taxi cab skids to a halt at the gate.

Two kangaroo’s hop out of the cab,

Taking coins from their pouches to settle the tab.

With only one animal left to clock-in,

The zoo keeper waits rubbing her chin.

Then over the crest of the hill comes a speck,

Which turns into a head on a very long neck.

Freewheeling downhill, the animal zips,

All legs and knees, and smile on its lips.

So how does the giraffe get to work everyday?

On an old penny farthing he found on ebay.

P.s. The giraffe himself informs me that he was particularly bad tempered last night and actually swore at a motorist that insisted on weaving in and out of the cycle lane. He would like to apologise for his bad behaviour and hopes it does not give giraffes a bad name.

P.p.s. If you have not been recently then I’d recommended following up this poem with a trip to Auckland Zoo – personally I think it’s one of Auckland’s somewhat hidden gems. They also do a lot of great conservation and education work, which deserves to be supported.

P.p.p.s. Before I forget – this seems like an appropriate time and place for this week’s puppy photo. Princess Kuku is, after all, something of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And like the wolves she’s best left alone first thing in the morning because she likes to stay snuggled up in bed.

Princess Kuku2

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  1. ..and a hasty attempt at a customised Auckland verse:

    The elephants prefer to relax on a train
    in weather inclement and riddled with rain
    With HOP card held high they climb on their DMU
    but would clearly prefer to try a new EMU.

    Any other takers for a bit of doggerel?

  2. The bogans from out west,
    Like to put their trains to the test,
    Except for those who live in Waitakere
    Who no longer have access to clickety-clackety.

  3. Setting off to the vast burbs of the east.
    ride lycra-emblazoned Wildebeest.
    And stopped at the lights a petrol-head koala
    Caresses the wheel of a classic Impala

    1. Interesting fact picked up in South Africa: “wildebeest” is actually pronounced villderbe-est.

      And “meerkat” is more like me-ear-kart.

      Depending on how you define interesting, at least.

      Good verse nonetheless!

          1. My father’s a poet,
            (I thought you should know it)
            he’s awfully fond of the silent G,
            I fear that is rubbing off on me

            And apropos of the aforementioned gnat and gnu
            I fear it applies also to you
            From time to time silent as well is the p
            Is that the next challenge for verse so twee?

          2. Pterodactyls and ptarmigans take to the air
            Wheeling and diving with nary a care
            over city psychiatrists and psychics alike
            with such aerial freedom who needs a bike?

          3. Boundary Road is my favourite brew
            I love to drink it – I’ve had quite a few
            So excuse the break in our poetic whimsy
            I have to q for for a literal p

    1. yes I’m wondering whether we make a print/poster out of it and distribute it to kindergartens in Auckland or something? Never to young to get them thinking about solving Auckland’s transport issues …

  4. I’ll speak with Chris about putting some illustrations together. If there’re any willing lions in Sumner or mice in Mt Pleasant, we can get the circle of life happening down Ferry Road to ease the pain if the roadworks…

      1. I wonder if we should start a new meme around crazy cycling costumes? As a way of making people smile when they see cyclists?

  5. From the burbs of Pt Chev comes a Maglev
    It’s the only way you see, for a turtle to hurtle.
    The grumpy swans saunter north from St Lukes
    Shepherding quails, with just a hint of rebuke.

  6. clearly the stress of getting Unitary Plan submissions has been getting to people,

    my only thought on this is that the giraffe probably would benefit from a bigger bicycle frame!

    1. yes, I thought it was an appropriate time to lighten up the atmosphere a little before heading into the next battle ..

  7. As I have always suspected, there are some scribes contributing to this site!
    May I add a Wellington angle –

    A possum in paekak sips his soy flat white
    The shelter of the venerable station quite a delight
    …he keeps a weather eye on the wind direction
    While waiting for his Capital Connection

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