A Litter of Angels

up pig


A Litter of Angels

And if I ask, she might commence
To stroll with me upon the croft,
And though I know she’s happy hence
To never cross our friendship’s fence,
I pray she’ll learn how much I wish I’d doffed
My shy concern, and share those eyes so soft –
And with this burn, I call on Providence
That we may chance discern
to glimpse that fabled herd aloft.

For surely must her ’mazement form
As pigs come gliding from the west,
And may she gape in wonder warm
As grunting gammons flock and swarm.
Atop the trees, the sows are in the nest.
Upon the breeze, the shoats are cherubs blest –
Such hogs she sees !  These razorbacks in storm
Shall rend her heart’s decrees
and forge sublime within her breast.

And ev’ry time their trotters pound
For ham-thrust launch, so ardour springs.
And ev’ry volant-piglet’s sound
Of flapping brings such sighs profound.
These airborne swine, these porkers shot from slings,
These boars divine, these swooping, free-range kings,
Such hope they mine when soaring heaven-bound –
These aeronauts porcine
shall speed her love on bacon wings.



Swan Song

detail from Move Out! by Morten Storstein


Swan Song

Christmas morning, along the canal,
As we strolled passed the swans who had lost all their grey,
Between the old works and the back of the mall,
We watched as the swans chased their cygnets away.

The cob and the pen were a pair of old thugs,
On Christmas morning along the canal –
They drove out their rivals for duckweed and slugs,
And sent their kin flying off over the mall,

Frozen or starving or prey to a fox –
Their parents don’t care, but then that’s nature’s way.
We watched as the swans taught their children hard knocks,
Along the canal on a cold Christmas Day.


I would just point out that ‘canal’ and ‘mall’ do rhyme, despite the current trend to ape the Americans.



Naming the Serpents

Lilith by John Collier


Naming the Serpents

Adam named the adder
And the grass snake and the asp,
The whip, the smooth and ladder,
And the rattle and the rasp.

He named them, ev’ry one entire,
That slinked across the land,
From the cobra in the briar,
To the boa in the sand.

But one had never caught his eyes:
The one within the apple tree –
The one that we immortalise
In canvas, glass and tapestry !

’Twas Eve who named the python
Once she’d tasted his delight,
She bet her very life on
How he’d hug but wouldn’t bite.




farm cat



My life was good on Manor Farm –
Just catching rats and lapping milk,
And sleeping warm and safe from harm –
I had no qualms with Jones’s ilk.
Yet revolution saw it scrapped –
Ah well, a cat will soon adapt.

I let them give their speeches,
And I let them hold their votes,
As they banned all booze and breeches,
And they argued beets or oats.
I snoozed between the awed and rapt,
Because a cat can soon adapt.

By hoof and feather, cart and plough,
We each must labour, none must shirk –
But rodents are our comrades now,
So I am out of work.
My talents must remain untapped –
But hey, a cat shall soon adapt.

Yet I smell blood, and I smell fear,
Among the cowed who used to crow.
They ought to leave, but still they’re here –
For where else can these rebels go ?
They’ve made their home, and now they’re trapped.
Farewell – a cat must soon adapt.



The Barons of the Jungle

black cat walking on road
Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com


The Barons of the Jungle

When humans send themselves extinct, then who will take their place ?
The chimpanzees ?  Or have they missed their chance at master-race ?
Parrots, crows, or even pigeons ?  But they lack the hands to build –
Dolphins hunter-gather while the oyster-beds remain untilled,
Yet octopuses have the arms, and boy, are those arms skilled !
But life for them is short and done – they’ll never make it number one.

But cats have cunning, cunning paws,
And curiosity to dare –
And even if the reaper calls,
Then cats have lives to spare.
So some are fat and some are cool,
And all, at night, are grey –
They walk this world, yet never rule,
And leave the mice to play.

Now mice and rats are shrewd, for sure, but hygiene lets them down:
Too many fleas, too many plagues, to ever wear the crown.
An elephant remembers, but they sometimes are mistaken,
While bears will sleep their lives away and never reawaken,
And pigs are pretty clever, though they still end up as bacon,
And bees will sting to save their hives, yet never learn it costs their lives.

But cats can look upon a king –
So could they wear the boots and chain ?
Alas, though ev’ry bell should ring,
They’ll never turn again.
It takes a team to build a throne,
Yet cats won’t pull together –
The cat who always walks alone
Must walk alone forever.




Medusa #2 by Hiroko Sakai



Gaze into the gaze of Medusa
And be forever transfixed,
Petrified by our seducer,
And the slither of her hips:
Just a flick of the tongue and a hiss of a smile,
Is all she needs to beguile her prey.
With her sleek, sleek body and her big, big hair,
And her cat-eyed long, long stare –

Back when slow-worms still had legs,
Asklepios, a shy young god,
Adrift without a cause or temple,
Just a toga and a rod,
Was blundering through Sarpedon,
Up the valley, down the scarp, and on
In search of sacred streams.
And there, within a cave, it seems,
While carefree and quite unawares,
He found the girl of his nightmares and his dreams

For they say that young Asklepios
Had never found his way,
Until he gazed upon Medusa,
Fell in love that very day,
And swore to heal all those who pray to him,
On her behalf,
And swore to ever after bear
Her symbol in his staff.
His temple was a shrine to her will,
Where serpents freely slinked among the ill.

But these days, preachers rarely praise
The grass-snake in the grass,
The serpent in the Garden
Isn’t welcome at the mass.
Saints were crowned for banishing and slander –
Or even worse,
The mauling, groping, serpent-handlers,
Just to prove a single verse –
Snake-oil merchants, hick-wood hacks
With diamond rings and diamondbacks.

But we who gazed upon Medusa,
Goths and metalheads and geeks,
Who don’t recoil from fang and coil,
As steadfast as those ancient Greeks,
Are blessed forever with her curse –
To see in ev’ry child of hers
Her beauty – deadly if unwise –
In never-blinking eyes.



The Change

yellow and black butterflies cocoon
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


The Change

Caterpillars metamorph, from juvenile to butterfly,
And maggots turn to ants and wasps and beetles, by and by,
And tadpoles can be newts and salamanders, toads and frogs
But when it comes to mammals, well,
There’s little change of which to tell,
For puppies only ever get to grow up into dogs.
But you know, that’s not quite true – we’re changing too,
Though the other way round:
See, larvae are more evolved than their parents –
Their bodies the new kids in town.
But we, you and me, start out as a fish
With proto-gills and a tail to swish
In a primordial sea of warm –
Then it’s time to move, to shed our skin,
And let our reptile-selves begin:
Engage, evolve, transform !
It’s time to metamorphosise,
We mongrel robots in disguise,
From instar into more-bizarre,
Our restless genes must shift and swarm
And take this blood-cold world by storm
By becoming the mammals, the furry mammals we are !
But don’t stop now, the urge ain’t gone –
I don’t know what’s next, but I feel it coming on…