Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Every year the same thing happens

The trunk of the horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) cannot be hugged yet it is held in our affection for most of the year. It draws the eye away from the house at the back which, although positioned sideways to ours, reminds us of our neighbour’s proximity in an otherwise secluded spot near to the forest. In winter, when it’s bare, the bricks are clearly visible but the sky is much bigger and can be full of stars and space stations zooming from left to right. In springtime, its frozen fingers give birth to sticky buds which are less welcome, collected by the dog and stuck fast to everything in his wake so I follow him around vacuuming.

In springtime, the peacocks shout and there’s a donkey braying; the holly (Ilex) bush, twelve feet tall and obliterating the row of houses running down the side, even from our bedroom window, exposes its earthy inhabitants; the cats resume their seasonal killing spree and it is on February 17th, a bright frosty morning when sunbeams highlight the smeary kitchen windows, that my husband presents Exhibit Number One, suspended by its tail: about eight inches in bodily length and countless more including its plump tail. Cats don’t eat rats but often behead them. This one was all there, all rat. They don’t eat moles either although their appearance in the procession of corpses is rare. I wrote this last summer when the killing season was well underway:

We thought Jack’s silence

Was innocent play

With a digger.

But after a time,

A glass of red wine,

We looked over, horrified

At a mole driving the digger!

How ironic

That no animals were harmed

In the making of this poem;

It was already dead,

Just driving a digger,

A sedentary occupation,

Like writing a poem.


cheryl63 said...

Very good - and funny!! I know the inspiration behind this one too!

Kathryn said...

Yes, they say that fact is often stranger than fiction...