A poem for Paul Brookes’ challenge to re-wild the mundane and/or re-mundane the wild. Today we’re dealing with foxes (or toasters). If you’d like the join in, the details are here. I’d like to add that most of the elements of this story are true. Franz Marc provided the illustration.
Where the kitchen stove glows still warm, cats dream, and mice dance with stray crumbs, nudge loose-fitting lids, chew holes in the mesh of the food safe.
Padding soft, almost silent, the fox in the attic descends the cold stairs, grey-ghost, in search of fat mice,
where cats stretch in sleep, in the stove-glow, their dreams full of tiny squeals.
We have mice in the house. Field mice, not house mice. Why do we have field mice when the fields are full of things for mice to eat? Why do we have any mice when we have two cats and two dogs?
This house-boat leaks, broken tiles, mud walls, planking chewed and holed. Internal doors with pieces cut out at the base to let cats through, shutters in the attic with holes for the owls, a separate exit for the pigeons. Mouse highways.
So we put everything edible in plastic tubs or glass jars, keep the fruit in a meat safe, sweep up crumbs.
Yet we still have mice. We hear the scritch-scratch in the night while the cats sleep. See them scamper across the kitchen in the daytime while the cats sleep.
In the long ago and far away, a wise ancient had the bright idea of inviting cats into his granaries to eat the mice. I don’t suppose there are records of his success rate, graphs to show rodent populations, champion hunter tallies.
All we have are the memes, household cat gods, sleeping in the sun, by the stove, waiting for the next meal to appear from the fridge.
Balance in the stars planets the orbits of satellites day and night plenty and famine we strive balancing on the tipping point dancing between too much and too little what is and what should be like the stars and their music the deep tragic silence of felled trees.
We can’t move for boxes now. I’ve packed up most of the kitchen utensils so I don’t know how we’re going to eat over the next few days. Still washing clothes, towels and bad linen and hoping it will all be dry enough to pack.
This critter is our Little Cat. She’s the one with problems. We found her in the street outside when she was tiny, had hardly any fur, was full of worms, with a ruptured bowel, and suffering from acute malnutrition that affected her motricity and sense of balance. She had two operations on her bowel, which seem to have been more or less successful except for a bit of incontinence. The eczema is chronic and periodically, her fur still drops out. All of it, right up to her shoulders.
As you can see from the weird position of that back leg, she has difficulty managing four limbs. Her legs don’t bend in the right places so she plods, flat-footed and very noisily and extremely un-cat like. Because she has lost her sense of balance, she falls out of windows, off walls and out of trees. For the first couple of years we had her, she wasn’t allowed outside because we were afraid she would fall into the neighbour’s garden and be eaten by the German Shepherd. So we kept her indoors and she fell out of the second floor windows instead.
I thought I’d post a pic of her while her fur, if not luxuriant, is at least present and covers most of her. Her expression baffles me. It’s a world-weary, leave me alone-type of expression, which I don’t think is intentional. She’s a sweet-natured little thing, absolutely fearless (which we can probably put down to some kind of brain damage), and terribly destructive.
Her name is officially Nina, sometimes Ninja, after her habit of rolling off window ledges, Ploddy or Scabby, for obvious reasons. She doesn’t respond to any name, so I’m guessing we haven’t discovered it yet.