Chipkins woke to another lonely day marooned

On the golden sands of Prime Minister Atoll.

It had been months since the good ship HMS Kindness

Had foundered on the reefs of ill fortune.

The rest of his crew had made off

In the one remaining life raft.

His only companions were a palm tree

And a lone seagull called Seymour.

Chipkins went for his morning constitutional,

Walking twenty steps in a circle around his atoll

Which was getting smaller by the day.

“I could swear the water is rising,” he told the palm tree.

“It is,” replied the palm tree. “The polls are melting.”

Chipkins stared at the wavelets which slopped

Around his ankles.

Beyond the reef he could see fins

Lazily moving in slow circles.

“There is only one escape,” said Chipkins.

“I will tunnel my way out.”

He thought he heard the seagull laugh

And glared at it.

Chipkins started digging.

Down into the sand he dug beneath the sea.

Deeper and deeper into the earth’s crust.

His amazing tunnel grew and grew

And he lost track of time

He grew dizzy through thirst and fatigue.

Somewhere near the centre of the Earth

Where the laws of physics are warped and strange,

He emerged into a great dim cavern.

There was Captain Luxon of the Bermuda Triangle

Sitting on a rock looking lost.

Then Chipkins passed by Lord Winston of the Admiralty

Who winked at him and said “See you soon.”

Chipkins did not falter at these hallucinations

But tunnelled on towards land day in, day out.

“According to my calculations,

I’d say I’ve made it to the North Shore,”

He said to himself one day with a sense of great relief.

A last push and he emerged into the bright sunlight

And clambered out of his sandy hole.

The small beach looked strangely familiar.

Chipkins looked up at a single palm tree.

The salty water lapped around his ankles:

All around him the endless blue extended

To the distant horizon,

Broken only by lazily cruising fins.

Above him in the palm tree,

He could hear a seagull laughing.

Victor Billot has previously felt moved to write Odes for such luminaries as Christopher Luxon, Tory Whanau, Michael Wood, and Wayne Brown.

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