Monday, 21 January 2019

Two poems about Squirrels, for Squirrel Appreciation Day

I notice it is Squirrel Appreciation Day, and would like to share two pieces I have written on the subject. 

Although I have vague childhood memories of red squirrels scrambling about the conifers around my primary school, only once have I seen one in adulthood - in the summer of 2015, in Fog Lane Park, Manchester - which by odd coincidence music fans may recognize from the video for the Oasis single Shakermaker...
The squirrel as way too quick and elusive for me to take a photograph, but I later documented the brief interaction in this short poem:


Your scarper-sprint is almost clumsy,

tumbling through a sea-green field,

wary as a rabbit,

your soft dance of hazy flames

a hungry stumble

the colour of autumn leaves.

While their grey cousins, much more regular - indeed virtually ubiquitous - presences, are described in the poem below:


Not exactly grey, though.

More a blend of oaky, barkish dark,

snow-speckled, blotched

in honey-coloured patches

seeping through your rough

face fur, fuzzy-looking

as a head of teazel.

Plucky, tree-hopping, interloping imp,

hunched on a sycamore trapeze,

mid-nibble, acorn clenched

between soft paws

and hamster mouth,

one thing you are not

is a killer,

and in your shadow-slinking

birch bough bounce and dash

as you duck and dive

between sawn tree trunks and graves

what I read in you is fear.

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