At the bird feeder

At the bird feeder

We’ve cut the laurel back
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?

Published in The Green Gate (Cinnamon Press, 2015) and Journeys of Compassion 
published by Quaker Concern for Animals and available here.


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