Tuesday, 8 April 2008


One morning last month I arrived at work to see something odd lying on the wooden floor of the lobby area outside our offices. At first, against the morning light, I thought I was looking at a large leaf. Then I thought it was a surprisingly rat-shaped leaf. A moment later I realised it actually was a rat. A colleague disposed of the corpse; but the bloody trail it had left on the floor remained for almost two weeks. I could not bring myself to clean up the mess and therefore saw a kind of bloody clockface every time I left or entered my office, and replayed in my mind a moving image of the rat pointlessly dragging itself in three decreasing circles before making a last gasp lunge away. I’d be grateful of any comments on these three experiments…


Yellowing leaf like
our fertilized rat’s last act
Klein in red not blue


Stem, leaf, crisp profile
are shoulder, pelvis tail eyes
a rat’s pose. Repose.
Chin resting on a clot shelf
minute marker of demise.


Where reversed from dust we might expect
rat’s trace to be direct and lean,
our shared floors are waxed to sheen
and we upon the light reflect.
Today three spirals and a thrust,
tokens of his urge, his lust,
his oily tracks a darkened flight
which once were red and fresh and bright.

By eating without fear or pause,
from concise executed claws
fertilizer from our pots
his life was set summative test:
gagging lurching, scratching west,
he spasmed, spewing ruddy clots.

Many thanks to Tim for all the encouragement!

No comments: