Walking With Ducklings


In 2004, one of my daughters lived on a farm overlooking the Exe Valley in Devonshire, England. The ducklings which I write about below had imprinted themselves on her shortly after their incubated birth, and they would regularly follow her as she walked around the farm and on to the farm duckpond.

DevonDklings04b

WALKING WITH DUCKLINGS

Ducklings,
greet my world,

meet your world,
sometimes mild;
oft times wild –
do your best to love it.
Now let’s go for a walk
… while I talk

No, don’t duck out of my suggestion,
just follow me and I’ll show you life,
you’ll take to it
like a duck to the waters;
pretend you’re my daughters.

For you are Devon ducks,
yes, Drake Country, I know,
but every drake needs a duck,
as they say in these parts;
not your Cockney ducks
they’ve very hard hearts.

Don’t believe them when they say
“out for a duck”;
don’t take it personally;
it means Nothing –
just innocent banter,
small-scale sledging,
they know you’re a fledgling.

No, “out with the ducks”,
now that’s more like it.
So don’t be glum,
think of me as your mum,
and follow me to the pond
there’s a duck house down there,
painted duck-egg blue,
just the home for you.

You’ll like it there
even though
and I do know
when you grow up
you may lose a few eggs
shell shock they call it
all in good cause
because
we humans enjoy them
try not to condemn
it’s just
nous les adorons
ces sont si bon

and when at the pond
just watch out for Jethro
our farm dog you know
he’s a bit of a barker
a real nosey-parker
duck down when you see him
or go for a swim

and, talking of duck down,
better put your coats on
it’s going to get chilly
no, not chilli hot
chilly cold
so be good as gold.
now, will you be told!

Let’s pause for a selfie
no, don’t make that duck-face
pouting doesn’t suit you
the camera will shoot you

If you are good
then later
as your mater
i’ll let you loose
on the web
you’ll learn so much there
but please do beware
best avoid Mr Blumenthal
all duck and waffle
your feathers he’ll ruffle
he’d feed you too well
making you swell
for his ‘Fat Duck’ menu
I’d better not continue
… but remember …
it’s not yet December
I could get 250 pounds for you there.

that’s 500 for the both of you
so don’t annoy me
I’m not your employee

Just follow me
and remember
i’m your funny mummy
just imprint that on your
duck brains
just remember you’re mine
and we’ll get along fine.

DevonDklings04c

bar-green

 

19 thoughts on “Walking With Ducklings

  1. This is wonderful, Roland! It reminds me of my own ducks I had as a child. After school I would come home and take them for a walk around our property. But we didn’t live in the country, so the neighbors in back of us began complaining about the noise they made early in the morning. By the way, my maiden name is Drake. Ha! I think most of us are from around Devon. I looked it up once, but there’s also another area in the UK that spawned some Drakes, I think.

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  2. Such clever word play and concept Roland, again always something different on the Ragbag, always informative, always enjoyable. How long does the imprinting last Roland, are there still vestiges of it at adulthood ?

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  3. Fantastic photo and poetry Roland. We have a pond on the other side of our garden and they are regular visitors to Doranville. The term Duck always reminds me of visits to Lancashire.

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  4. Roland, I really love your clever and fun poem about your daughter and the ducks. The photos are lovely with her for a walk and talking to the ducks about life. Very wise. Then the pretty basket for a rest.
    I am afraid nobody owned ducks where I grew up but there were plentiful of wild Eiders.

    miriam

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