At the bird feeder: a postcard

Winter 2009

 We’ve cut the laurel back now

to make it less easy


but before that

I watched the rat


climb up through

the bayleaf branches

and tightrope across

the thin rail to where

the birds’ peanuts hang.


 One whiskery snout

first pushed out among the foliage

(I, by the window, put down my book)

then the keen-eyed look took in the task

and the rat made its quickwitted clownish crossing

not without risk but with reward.


 Common brown rat, pink-eared and pink-footed,

deft and dedicated to the art of food.


 I watched on, complicit, and not without

love for this distant cousin who knows

an opportunity when he sees it

and who can blame him for that?

 ~ Fiona Owen.

 This poem, by one of our members in Wales, was previously printed in the Spring 2011 issue of Quaker Voices.