The Water Vole


I hid for hours in the grass and watched that busy water vole,
Or rat – I’m not a naturalist. I don’t judge life on what I’m told
Its species is by men in gowns –
Whatever, as the sun went down
The vole, or rat, swam to and fro
Along the dyke outside its hole
With bits of string and moss and leaves and cotton reels and broken twigs.
What it was building in its den I couldn’t say, but it was big.
Some vast machine with bolts and cogs
Of cherry pips and duffle togs
I thought. Perhaps, below the bank
The vole had built a Sherman tank
With time warp capabilities – the only mind alive that knew
How quantum physics held the key to temporal travel. On the shrew –
It might have been a shrew, you see –
Swam gathering fanatically.
At last the sun behind the mill
Had gone. And in the darkness still
I heard the splash of tiny paws that voles, or rats, or shrews might make,
A silver ‘V’ shone in the dark, still trailing chickweed in its wake,
Ploughing on industriously
Engaged, and not a bit like me
Content to ponder on the lives
Of shrews, or rats, or voles, or mice.


14 responses to “The Water Vole

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