Last Thursday, 28th. September was National Poetry Day with “Freedom” being this year’s theme. Four poems of mine sprang to mind which touch on this subject, albeit tangentially: “Resistance is Futile?” was posted here on January 6th., 2016; and the other 3 happen to be about seabirds or our hamster, Bev. “Seascape with Gulls” is in the “Eric Bloodaxe? And Other Verse” collection; and the two others are “Beverage Almond Gnawwood Cleansetail”; and “Barnacle Geese: On a Wing and a Prayer”, juxtaposed by chance in “Seconds Out”.
NB. I should mention that Bev was Hugo’s hamster and the name derives loosely from his impressive moniker (Hugo Armand Norwood Kensdale).
Beverage Almond Gnawwood Cleansetail
Our hamster’s in an awful rage.
She sits and fumes inside her cage.
She thinks this time we’ve gone too far,
our furry prisoner at the bar.
For every evening on the dot,
she exercises on the plot
comprised of landing, hall and stairs,
pausing to groom beneath the chairs.
It’s then she leaves her fur-lined nest
(about the time we get undressed)
her ears erect, her nose a-twitch,
(but first to soothe that nagging itch).
From time to time, we have a scare.
We glance away. She isn’t there.
For hours we scour the kitchen round,
anxious for the slightest sound.
If, like tonight, we are not there,
she’ll stare and think or simply stare,
or pull and tug her tatty cover,
yearn wistfully for hamster lover.
Some days she doesn’t sleep too well.
We’re noisy neighbours sent from Hell,
diurnal strange insomniacs
who wait for night-time to relax.
A self-respecting vertebrate
knows when it’s time to activate
once sun has dipped and darkness falls
and shadows steal along the walls.
By day she dreams a cunning plan
for Rodent victory over Man :
draw up petition which with paw would
be marked Cleansetail, Beverage Gnawwood ;
or (unhinged, alone and barmy)
Hamster Liberation Army,
with Foxy beret à la Che
or balaclava (IRA)
sit on haunches, raise clenched paw:
Today the hall. Tonight the door.
Tomorrow, so her reasoning goes,
… a noise disturbs rebellious doze…
… go placard-waving down the street :
“GIVE EVERY HAMSTER MORE TO EAT.”
“LET’S TURN THE TABLES, NOT THE WHEEL.”
“MINIMUM CHOW IS ONE SQUARE MEAL.”
“WE WON’T WAIT FOR EVOLUTION.
THE PET SHOP GIRLS WANT REVOLUTION.”
“STOP CHANGING CAGES TWICE A WEEK.
A LIBERTY ? A BLOODY CHEEK.”
But then again, all snug and warm,
she sees the case for slow reform
and, as she slips back into trance,
decides to give us one more chance.