The Bullfrog and the Chameleon
Were in fierce competition
Who’d be the head of their dominion?
And who would rot in opposition?
They met one misty morning
And fought a long and fiersome battle
Administering much tooth and nail
To see what that would settle.
But Bullfrog’s skin was thick and warty
From years of hidden shame
And pawning all his principles
And attributing the blame.
His jugular was swaddled
In tiers of fat and lies –
Chameleon just couldn’t reach it
No matter what he tried.
And Chameleon was just too cunning
And had the irritating knack
Of blending into his surroundings
To thwart any attack.
His face so bland it simply vanished,
The Bullfrog’s clunking paw
In the confusing change of colours
Did not clunk very sure.
When they’d been at it for a while
Too tired to carry on
They lay there panting in a pile
And carried on with words alone.
“I promise paths to pastures new
And equal access to all beasts!
The Bullfrog cried with misty eyes
And clunked his feeble fists.
“What arrant nonsense” said Chameleon.
You cannot raise the grazing floor
Without increasing daily dues
We pay to all the carnivores.
What ruminator wants to offer
More of their kind to such donations?
Besides we already owe
More than our entire population.”
“I have a different solution:
I’ll make a deal with my cousin-crocs
And give safe access to new water
For all you thirsty flocks.”
And so they bickered ’till the sun was low
And presently, with no clear winner,
Agreed: Let’s ask the other animals
To state, once and for all, the winner!
And they looked up with eyes entreating
From their little patch of reeds
But there was nobody observing
Their little war of words and deeds.
And the herds of doe-eyed grazers
Still grazed their docile way
Through their ever-shrinking pastures
And croc-infested water-ways.
And lions prowled and gorged upon
The slow and weak and plain unlucky,
And the crocodiles still lay in wait
For those too careless or plucky.
And the hyenas laughed their laugh
With greedy joy and gay abandon,
As their committees scavenged through
The daily slaughter’s memoranda.
And the bureaucratic monkeys
Looked unphazed on such logistics
And spread through jungle and savannah
Their chattering statistics.
– o –