This is a really silly verse to celebrate the June Bank Holiday (well, it’s a holiday if you happen to be in Ireland anyway). Juggling with Gerbils is the title poem of a Brian Patten collection published by Puffin Books in 2000. Illustrations (and not only of gerbils) are by Chris Riddell. Even though I have been a gerbil owner myself I still find this poem funny. And before you ask, I have never tried it myself. Honest. Patten’s collection found its way onto The Landing a few years ago via a library sale in Dundrum, Dublin and has been read many times over. I somehow doubt if we’ll ever grow too old for gerbil juggling!
Juggling with Gerbils
Don’t juggle with a gerbil
No matter what the thrill
For gerbils when they’re juggled
Can end up feeling ill.
It makes them all bad tempered
And then they’d like to kill
Those gerbil-juggling jugglers
Juggling gerbils till they’re ill.
(Do not try this at home)
Brian Patten was born in Liverpool in 1946 and formed the Liverpool Poets with Roger McGough and Adrian Henri in the 1960s, bringing out The Mersey Sound in 1967. His first solo collection was also published in that year, Little Johnny’s Confessions and has written extensively both for adults and children since then.
For more information here is a link to Brian Patten’s website. Now where’s that gerbil gone…