Patsy The Penguin

Patsy the Penguin wanted to fly.
She had two short wings and she fancied a try.
By air she could help her expectant mother
find food for her soon-to-be penguin brother.
Marching for food took weeks and weeks
but flying would swiftly bring fishy beak treats.
So off she went to Old Ice Creek,
where the albatross soared and the seagulls shrieked.
She observed their style, their stance and grace.
She admired their rhythm, their speed and pace.

Patsy watched and planned her flight.
By evening she felt the air was right.
She took to the runway and revved up her flippers.
She launched herself skywards towards the Big Dipper.
SPLAT! SPLOT! She sploshed to the ground!
She skidded and slipped and spun round and round.
“Honk honk!” mocked the sea lions, secretly spying.
“A penguin who thinks she’s suited to flying!
Honk honk, what a joke! What a hoot, ding-a-ling!
Penguins can’t possibly do such a thing.”

Patsy felt foolish and waddled back home.
Her parents were worried, she’d been out alone.
They made her a bowl of fresh kipper soup,
to warm up her beak and help her recoup.
“Patsy,” said Father, “your wings are too short.
You shall never fly, I’m afraid to report.
Fret not about Baby, we will survive.
Why don’t you work on your belly flop dive?”
Mother just smiled and shuffled her egg.
The idea seemed lodged in Patsy’s young head.

At the break of dawn the following day,
Patsy returned to the frosted bay.
Burdened by her flightless woe,
her tears gushed into the water below.
Then SPLASH! FLIP! Shimmer and leap!
A flying fish landed at Patsy’s webbed feet.
“Why Penguin my dear, you seem so glum
when your airborne adventures have hardly begun.
For I am a fish and I have no wings.
Yet fly I do and I fly like a king!”

“How can you fly with gills, Fine Fish?”
“Oh do call me Frederic, you imply I’m a dish!”
“Alright Frederic, now tell me your trick.
Tell me the secret and please make it quick.”
“You must learn Swishswash, my penguin friend,
the magical language that knows no end.
When desire for a thing takes over one’s soul,
a murmur in Swishswash helps conquer that goal.”

Fish shared his knowledge of the mystical tongue.
Patsy took note and practiced her run.
She raced down the strip crying “Shi shoo shy”
and before she knew it, the penguin could fly!
As high as a condor, as swift as a hawk,
Patsy had mastered the air with her squawk.
Her two short wings worked dawn, noon, night
to propel sweet Patsy in blissful flight.

She flew to the seaside, she flew to the hills.
She soared above castles, cathedrals and mills.
And when Baby Penguin in autumn arrived,
she flew to the ocean in search of supplies.
She returned the same day to her parents’ delight,
gleaming with pride at her overcome plight.
The chick cooed at Patsy in grateful applause:
“When I grow up I want wings like yours”.
No happier bird was ever seen
than Patsy the Penguin the Flying Machine.

 

Isobel Ulrich

 

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