Wednesday, 11 September 2013

To See the Rabbit

To See the Rabbit

by Alan Brownjohn

We are going to see the rabbit.
We are going to see the rabbit.
Which rabbit, people say?
Which rabbit, ask the children?
Which rabbit?
The only rabbit,
The only rabbit in England,
Sitting behind a barbed-wire fence
Under the floodlights, neon lights,
Sodium lights,
Nibbling grass
On the only patch of grass
In England, in England
(Except the grass by the hoardings
Which doesn't count).
We are going to see the rabbit
And we must be there on time.

First we shall go by escalator,
Then we shall go by underground,
And then we shall go by motorway,
And then by helicopterway,
And the last ten yards we shall have to go
On foot.

And now we are going
All the way to see the rabbit,
We are nearly there,
We are longing to see it,
And so is the crowd
Which is here in thousands
With mounted policemen
And big loudspeakers
And bands and banners,
And everyone has come a long way.

But soon we shall see it
Sitting and nibbling
The blades of grass
On the only patch of grass
In -- but something has gone wrong!
Why is everyone so angry,
Why is everyone jostling
And slanging and complaining?

The rabbit has gone,
Yes, the rabbit has gone.
He has actually burrowed down into the earth
And made himself a warren, under the earth,
Despite all these people,
And what shall we do?
What can we do?

It is all a pity, you must be disappointed,
Go home and do something else for today,
Go home again, go home for today.
For you cannot hear the rabbit, under the earth,
Remarking rather sadly to himself, by himself,
As he rests in his warren, under the earth:
"It won't be long, they are bound to come,
They are bound to come and find me, even here."

I have loved this poem by the British poet Alan Brownjohn ever since I first read it more than 40 years ago in junior high school. I love how the poem unfolds -- the young narrator's excited enthusiasm, the disturbing realization that this poem occurs in a future dystopian England, the creepiness of the imagery and the heartbreaking plight of the last rabbit. What a powerful warning about social, environmental and political breakdown and its costs, all in a concise little poem.


Anonymous said...

I got caught up in the excitement too, Debra! Then I was saddened by the disappearance of the rabbit. I'm glad you gave the explanation because I just figured he burrowed away for awhile. Thanks for sharing this.

DEZMOND said...

where's the rabbit? I don't see the rabbit? I wanna see the rabbit!

Anonymous said...

beautifully written, strong message in these

jaz@octoberfarm said...

silwy wabbits!

Cperz said...

What a devious little poem starting out so optimistic sounding only to be really a sad little poem.

Jim said...

I really enjoyed this poem Debra! What an insightful poet....knowing back them where 'things' are heading if we don't smarten up!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Wabbits are everywhere!

Suzanne said...

Thank you for the recap at the end.

Anonymous said...

That's a lovely poem my friend, for it carries such deep meaning.

Jeanne said...

Great poem! Makes one stop and think. If only mankind would listen more to the wee creatures.....

mxtodis123 said...

I love it. First time I have seen it.

gal artist said...

Great poem, never read it before.

turquoisemoon said...

I really like that. First time I ever read it. lots of meaning...

Birdie said...

I hope the rabbit found some peace. Far away, safe.

Leanna said...

It's a great poem. Makes you stop and think. Thanks for sharing darlin.

Holly said...

I came to see the Rabbit here on your blog! How cool is that?! I saw the rabbit!!! Yes I did.

Fundy Blue said...

Thank you for sharing this, Debra! I had never heard it, but I certainly will never forget it! Such a small number of words can pack a powerful punch! Take care!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

That is a very powerful poem. The message is rather disturbing. When there is only one rabbit left, and it is such a prolific animal, what has happened to all the others?

Mary said...

I like this poem. Very powerful but sad. We should all be warned...

But i also love that adorable bun bun pic! :)

Introverted Art said...

the first think that popped in my mind was "follow the white rabbit Neo"

Bird said...

Oh holy smokes. I was so distraught when I read this. You're right, it's a hell of a poem with one hell of a point. I'd never heard of Alan Brownjohn before. Thanks for introducing us to him. I'm going to read more by him.


Riot Kitty said...

That is very sad, but your rabbit picture made me laugh.

I hadn't read that before.

Kellie @ Delightfully Ludicrous said...

Wow, that became depressing rather quickly, didn't it.

jadedj said...

Thanks for sharing this...I think.

Lois said...

Freaking creepy! :)

Magic Love Crow said...

I have never read this poem before! Very meaningful! I love the picture ;o)

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

I read this years and years ago, forgot about it, and now remembered it! Wonderful!

The Happy Whisk said...

I love that photo :-)

Guillaume said...

On a rabbit streak? I have been away from your blog for too long, and now I must read them. Lovely pic.

Dawna said...

That is one cute bunny in the pic!
I've never read or heard this poem before, thanks, really enjoyed it

CraveCute said...

I love this..

Fay said...

I remember this poem from middle school, our teacher read it to us in our last assemble before we went up to high school, it has always stuck in my mind. The state of the world and the plight of the poor rabbit. Thank you for sharing so I could find it again.

Unknown said...

I performed this poem in my school eisteddfod 40 years ago. I came first! I have never forgotten it.. Its even more relevant today.. Thankyou for sharing