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Posts Tagged buzzards

THE SUDDEN RAT

Early one sunlit summer evening,

on the patio next to the urn,

a brown rat appears, not, as usual,

scurrying in briefest light from dark place

to darker place, but stationary,

as if paralysed, right jaw bleeding, torn.

Then it staggers fitfully a step.

 

We wonder what to do. Take a stick,

like Philip Larkin to the rabbit

traumatised with mxyomatosis?

 

The neighbour’s fat tabby cat – that saunters

through our garden like a colonial –

arrives. It jousts with the dying rat,

a tenth of its size, like a stuffed toy.

 

Next time we look, the rat is on its back

in rigour mortis. A fly buzzes.

What had maimed it? The bourgeois cat would flinch.

Was it dropped from a height by a novice

among the suburb’s small flock of buzzards?

 

We postpone action till the morning, hoping

some predator would remove the corpse.

As the poet opined to the rabbit,

‘You may have thought things would come right again

If only you could keep quite still and wait.’

 

Next day, the rat’s still there. We bury it.

 

 

 

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A NEIGHBOURHOOD OF STRANGERS

Buzzards splayed their wingtips against the sun.

A Phantom entered the glacial valley,

its fuselage burning – the pilot

and crewman still at the controls, their choice made.

In school, it was story time – magical

oak woods, changelings secreted. The children

heard a rushing like oceans. Their teacher

saw the fire approach and two young men,

with a hundred years of technology,

burst upon the huddled village’s

common land… Children dreamt of foreign men

gone to dust in a golden fire for a

neighbourhood of strangers.

 

 

 

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

You were here last year in your mother’s womb

at this cottage high above the straits.

Now you grab for buttercups, daisies, clover,

self-heal – and edge toward sleep in the stillness

under the parasol. Ringlet butterflies

flit across the grass. Blackbirds forage

among the mulch of last autumn’s leaves

at the margin where garden and woodlands merge.

A pheasant rattles somewhere out of sight.

Watching over you is a privilege.

Some time since last year, a sheep, lost in the woods,

died at the lawn’s edge. An elderberry

sapling is growing through the skull. The trees –

ash, oak, beech – are loud with hidden insects.

Nearby, a pair of buzzards is breeding.

They soar above us suddenly, calling:

pee-yah, pee-yah – hover, then bank away

over the tree line. And just as suddenly

the air is replete with other birds – swifts,

swallows, house martins, a jay, a herring gull.

On the mainland, roiling clouds envelop

Moel Wnion and the Carnedd range beyond,

their iron age settlements and the sheep runs,

and thick rain, all shades of grey from pencil

to gun metal, fills Bethesda’s slate quarries.

A military jet rip-roars the length

of the straits, simulating the Persian Gulf,

and a small factory ship thrums steadily,

hoovering mussels from their beds for Spain.

It’s a chancy universe, little one!

But here the sun still shines. You are waking.

 

 

 

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A NEIGHBOURHOOD OF STRANGERS

Buzzards splayed their wingtips against the sun.

A Phantom entered the glacial valley,

its fuselage burning – the pilot

and crewman still at the controls, their choice made.

In school, it was story time – magical

oak woods, changelings secreted. The children

heard a rushing like oceans. Their teacher

saw the fire approach and two young men,

with a hundred years of technology,

burst upon the huddled village’s

common land…Children dreamt of foreign men

gone to dust in a golden fire for a

neighbourhood of strangers.

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