Rat, O Rat…

We’ve been tidying up on our allotment, repairing beds, mulching and covering to warm the soil for planting, and identifying where the rats have their nests, ready for some serious clearance work next month. I suspect rats have nests on most plots, so clearing them from our allotment probably just makes space for a different group of rats to move in, and prompts a Spring Progress across the site.

The other day I came across this piece  by that wonderful poet, Christopher Logue, a rather one-sided plea to a rat to leave and ‘visit’ the neighbours’ house:

Rat, O Rat…

never in all my life have I seen
as handsome a rat as you.
Thank you for noticing my potatoes.

O Rat, I am not rich.
I left you a note concerning potatoes,
but I see that I placed it too high
and you could not read it.

O Rat, my wife and I are cursed
with the possession of a large and hungry dog;
it worries us that he might learn your name –
which is forever on our lips.

O Rat, consider my neighbour:
he has eight children (all of them older
and more intelligent than mine)
and if you lived in his house, Rat,

ten good Christians
(if we include his wife)
would sing your praises nightly,
whereas in my house there are only five.

Christopher Logue

I would add sweetcorn, courgettes & peas to the potatoes mentioned – actually everything we might grow to eat.

allotment [winter light]1

In: Emergency Kit: Poems for Strange Times, edited by Jo Shapcott & Matthew Sweeney, 1996/2004, Faber & Faber; London. [pp 13-14]

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One thought on “Rat, O Rat…

  1. Reblogged this on An Epistolary Project and commented:
    I recently discovered the poetry of Christopher Logue, in particular, his re-imagined account of Homer’s Illiad. While writing my allotment diary & thinking about a short post for our growing blog , HortusLudi, I coincidentally found this short poem by Logue. It is both a plea & a threat, reflecting our own intimate relationship with these ubiquitous rodents, over time. I’ve re-blogged the HortusLudi post, below:

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