Two dead winter wasps on window sills in
different rooms, not trophies but remnants
of my grey January sloth and their misjudged
audacity. It's not like this is the killing moment
but I was more annoyed than if it were their
right time to die. This far from summer's sun
puts us both in fragile territory when the warm
surprise of these past few months unsettles
natural things, and I have been teased by
misery simply coinciding with relentless clouds
and climate change on every horizon.
So an eventual Spring clean will remove the cruel
sting from all this uncertainty, but can a hope of routine
return us to a life before the damage done?
Today they put the poo pipe inside the wall,
jack-hammered a groove the length of its
fall and repositioned it into the cavity.
Then it was covered, the slit refilled with
wire and cement, and the plastic tube
concealed like a secret, as hidden inside
as the cast iron pipe at the bottom of the skip.
And now we must wait and see if the fall
of all our future flushings of pissing and shits
recall the remaining constant of gravity.
Although plastered, painted and covered with
its new look, behind will be the same lube
of human waste, and if bursting back outside
we'll be falling into its dark slide and slip.
It is that time and I hear you call but it is a
ghost haunting ahead of its moment, a voice
that urges and implores before the need is even
more. Each night I will pause and listen and
hear: sometimes it is the shout that pierces,
or it is just shadow, the dark echo from before
rounded out to an almost sound as if real.
And I respond. I rise and wait and listen and
hear the eventual silence like some blessing;
and blessed, I take my place back in the
queue to await the sound of your actual call,
whenever there is the impulse of your need.
And as the time comes for your sharp appeal
it is a call I am so well rehearsed to heed.
The Rabbit Lies
The rabbit lies sprawled out full length in its hutch
sleeping, head flopped against the door's wire mesh
so squares of white fur push through and do not move.
He could be dead. It is the still of slumber and so slow
breathing as he rests yet again. What it is, I know, is
age - this rabbit's simply too goddamn old and lazy
which is obvious from those times where we must rouse
him to clip encrusted or messy faeces from his back end.
Yet he can look serene. And it is, yes, in the long calm
of his lying there that he also looks endearingly sweet,
so when I give as reward for this recumbent lie
an edible treat, it drops from the fumbling of his
eager but less assured lunge, and I too grope to find,
keen to act like helping another old man across a street.
Blackbirds are beginning to build their nests,
tugging at twigs in the holly hedge when I wonder
would I care if they get the rash it took me many
dumb years to learn was from trimming and tugging
there too? Others scavenge on the ground for winter's
dead remains and sometimes straw that's drifted from the
rabbit's run. Such diligence in avian instinct where ladies
still perform the bulk of their historical purl and knit.
Would I also care about the magpie's fruitless industry in
pulling at the honeysuckle off-cuts I left long and
entwined on the ground? I could
snip this to freer lengths
so she could build that home and continue to mock me
with those ugly calls, but as no one helps me in my hard
life, they can all go to hell and join other flapping falls.
© Mike Ferguson