First Date at the Natural History Museum – Alice Allen

First Date at the Natural History Museum

We give the animals voices
make a handbag of the pangolin,
comment how The Walrus
on its polystyrene ice
peers down at us like Pavarotti.

All afternoon we laugh at similitudes,
cannot stop ourselves seeing
not what the animals are,
but what they are like

and later, on the station platform
are silenced by what we see:

two seagulls, delicate, trembling,
one treading air above the other.



Alice Allen’s poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies including most
recently, The Moth and Envoi. In 2014 she won the Flambard Poetry Prize. Alice is a
poetry reviewer for Sabotage and a writing mentor at The Ministry of Stories.