This poem is based on observation of many different people over some years. This is what tends to happen within a few hundred yards of the car-park.
Family Afternoon Out
They emerge from the four by four
In country wear jackets and boots
With matching children and dog.
Stand at the viewing point, and point
Like models in a clothes catalogue.
Little Jemima shouts repeatedly
About who once sat on which rock
Like she owns the place.
Eyes down, they head off
Talking about Priscilla in human resources
And what Gareth said about Antigua
And Little Christopher is bored
And swipes undergrowth with a stick.
Aren’t children so natural, in nature
In their desperately expensive jackets
Just like mummy and daddy wear.
Meanwhile Hugo the hound runs wild
Sniffs everything, and they’ve already passed
Seventeen brightly coloured notices about
Keeping dogs on leads but Hugo is not a dog.
He’s family, and it is different for him.
Because he’s wearing a jacket, too.
And nice, middle class dogs never worry sheep.
Now back to Priscilla, in human resources
The one with the bad botox experience.
This story is so good it requires enough decibels
For every other walker to hear the gruesome details.
Generations of squirrels now know what
Priscilla did about the stains.
Little Jemima is picking orchids, isn’t that pretty?
Never mind if she’s breaking the law, she’s only a child
Enjoying the flowers and her parents don’t know
What these flowers are called or that you aren’t
Supposed to pick them.
Little Christopher throws stones at everything, but
Back to what Gareth said about Cypress,
And Sudan, and you really must try ice skating in Ethiopia.
Hugo flushes out a bird that no one sees
Too busy with Priscilla and Gareth to look or hear
And does the front bedroom need decorating this year?
Little Jemima throws her phone in a pond when no one is looking.
Darling Christopher stamps on beetles. Were they endangered?
Too late now.
And Gareth said New Zealand is a must at this time of year
And how on Earth is anyone supposed to manage
Mud in these boots. You could wreck them, and the cost
Of replacing them and the dirt in the car
And Little Christopher is banging his head against a tree
Because he’d rather die than walk any further and
Jemima is eating leaves and berries but nature is good for us
So it’s probably fine. And Hugo has done a vast
Steaming turd in the middle of the path
So let’s put it in a plastic bag
And hang it from a tree.
Because we love nature.
Nature is lovely.
And we’ve had such a wonderful walk.