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a ship to sail away in
take your dreams and play in

on an ocean wide as lovesong
and lit by Monday stars

a man who’s travelling far
he’s dreamt this day for years

across the waves he sings
and meets a friendly creature

happy as daybreak
peering from around a wave
saying: shall we play?

lighthouses and lovers
both dazzling the sky
with their bright sighs
and light songs

rare seagulls are these
building nests from lost songs
and memory shards

sometimes they perch
on the lighthouse
and peer inside
when the keeper’s watching
David Attenborough documentaries
– they’re the best

they come to sea to sing
bright songs as loud as waves
and the sea salt and breeze make their moustaches flourish
and their songs get louder still

(the story so far)

He had come prepared:

– a suitcase containing ten miles of sky
– a tiny banjolele
– and a heart made from blossom and cloud.

His mission:

– to win the heart of Deedee Maroon,
who lived in the city of FarTooWideAndLong.

But Deedee was unmoved:

– the sky was too pale (and contained no thunder)
– the songs were too shrill
– and the heart disintegrated in her thin, crushy hands.

The Donkey Band play thursdays at the Seabird Saloon. And every thursday’s different – like the seasons have gotten all jumbled up and the tiny world inside that warm bar, is sometimes turbulent, sometimes peaceful as daisy fields, but always, always, it’s like you’ve stepped into a different world completely.

The singer, Donkey, plays ukulele, sometimes while dancing wild as wood fire. She fills the room with sounds and smiles. Drinks get spilt, but people stay grinning.

Lokey on piano only comes out his small shed-house to play here on thursdays. Then he soars. He can make a piano sound like wind, rain and all your best memories. He won’t talk though, but likes to be given a tot of berry gin at the end of the night. Rumours frill around the edges of the saloon that he loves Donkey bigger than that mountain ten miles east. But there’s nothing coming from his mouth about it. He just flicks his moustache and looks far away and a bit impatient.

Tantan plays flute. You swear it twists and bends like a snake when he plays. He’s always been tall, even when very young and loves studying those other amazing creatures who also sit high and proud above the rest. His home is thin and tall. Murals of giraffes and camels line the hallway. He talks the most. Usually it’s facts, snippets of obscure information about rare birds’ eggs, or how tea is taken on mondays by the schlurper bird in the forest.

Tonight’s a good night. Two mermaids have come in to hear the band. Their delight is immense. The feeling in this saloon is like all the best bits on the first day of travelling somewhere new.

Shhhhh! Donkey’s about to sing her best song: when there’s no more daisies in Yondoddle Meadow, I’ll pack my bags and fly…

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