Have You Heard Of New York City?

Artwork by Louise du Toit

As a true global power city, New York has been described by many as the cultural and financial capital of the world, yet little is known about the diverse collection of magnificent, beautiful creatures roaming its wetlands and woodlands, parks, islands, rivers, lakes, ponds, and salt marsh.

This story poem is the fourth in my educational series about wildlife, focusing on introducing its readers to a wealth of magnificent creatures from different countries and locations. The mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects mentioned in my poem are all part of the fauna of New York City. As an emphasis, I have used capital letters and an oblique style for all the animal terms.

Have you heard of New York City?

Have you ever heard of New York City? If you didn't, it would be strange;

For this city is famous far beyond its soft pretzels, skyscrapers, and stock exchange.

And there once lived a dapper White-tailed Deer, a well-known trombone player,

Who planned a fancy, midday flash mob, with a Stinkpot, who was also the mayor.

His secretary was a genius Star-nosed Mole, who was skilful and smart as a whip;

And his personal butler was an old Silver-haired Bat, completing his intern ship.

They discussed the details for days and weeks, over New York-style pizza and Mallomars;

With Opossums and Beavers and a brown Snowshoe Hare, joining them under the stars.

Along came an Eastern Chipmunk, a smooth River Otter, and a Monk Parakeet;

They were jazz musicians who've just returned from a sold-out tour in Crete.

When a Ruddy Duck, who was a divine drummer, heard of the planned escapade,

He joined them at once with a Chipping Sparrow, a cellist called Adelaide.

As the months passed by, the mob cast grew, with Ospreys and Mallards and Moose;

With Bobcats and Porcupines, Coyotes and Raccoons, a Pumpkinseed and a Canada Goose.

There was a Spring Peeper who would play the saxophone, and a tough Hellbender with a harmonica;

And a Common Mudpuppy blowing a tuba, and a singing Pickerel Frog called Veronica.

When a Cooper’s Hawk, who was a famous conductor, offered to join the big band,

The White-tailed Deer was overjoyed, doing a stunning handstand.

He was joined at once by six Southern Flying Squirrels, who were excellent acrobats,

While a Turkey Vulture swallowed fire balls, with a colony of brazen Roof Rats.

One evening the ambitious company was approached by a nutty Norway Rat,

Who ran an independent news channel, with a Wild Turkey and a Small-footed Bat.

The cameraman was a Meadow Jumping Mouse; the sound engineer a Hooded Seal;

And a Piping Plover was the presenter, who announced the news with zeal.

They would cover the whole adventure, in return for some inside information;

So they set up a meeting with a Muskrat and a Marten, the directors of the TV station.

A loaded Deer Mouse who had a Deli chain, decided to sponsor the event,

And he was promptly joined by an American Crow, who owned a circus tent.

When the time of the flash mob event arrived, everything went awry;

Half of the company had a cold and there were black clouds in the sky.

But nothing would stop the White-tailed Deer, who wanted to fulfil his dream,

So he gave an utterly inspirational speech, to lift and encourage his team.

And on the morning of the first of August, at rush hour at the busy Times Square,

The artists presented their spectacular concert, with theatricality and fantastic flair.

And Midtown Manhattan, bursting out of its seams, was filled with the happy noises

Of Minks and Lynx, Ermines and Foxes, Hares and Harbour Porpoises.

The fabulous flash mob, with its famous inventor, was featured on the prime time news,

And the days of the resourceful White-tailed Deer were now full of interviews.

He acquired ten more savvy secretaries, a surfeit of bold Striped Skunks;

And twenty more butlers, all dull brown Smokey Shrews, resembling a party of monks.

Artwork by Louise du Toit