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.
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.
I would add sweetcorn, courgettes & peas to the potatoes mentioned – actually everything we might grow to eat.
In: Emergency Kit: Poems for Strange Times, edited by Jo Shapcott & Matthew Sweeney, 1996/2004, Faber & Faber; London. [pp 13-14]