Where have you gone compost rats,
scavengers of the heap unearthing the germ?
Where have you gone with your furred brown backs
and your furred buff fronts exposed
as you climbed the mesh surround?
There was a time when you’d grab and run
if the threat to your world looked real,
but the passage of time has brokered a calm
more leisure to sample the fare
with inquisitive nose aquiver.
Epicures, where are you today?
Do your whiskers still measure your width?
Do you still face a gourmet spread
and a bite you cannot resist?
Where have you gone with your bright black eyes
assessing, with quick and urgent glance,
the bounty that flew from the bin?
The heap is barren now.
Searching roots push and thrust
through a brick-built garden wall.
They twist and turn through lawn and pretty plants,
to find the food for growth.
The roots are very old.
Their masthead propping three dried trunks
wears summer green like thinning hair.
It drops off dead and brittle limbs
that younger limbs may live.
The bark is gnarled and cracked.
Broken bricks and disturbed plants
is an affront that cannot be borne:
privacy, security, are the pride of the garden wall –
breached they ring the death knell of the tree
and the bells are tolled by the rasp of the saw.
The widened crack in the garden wall
guides the passage of the saw
to grind through the Willow’s girth.
The trunk is old and hard to cut
and the birds have fled the saw.
Spirit proud and spirit strong, the huge tree shudders as it drops.
The great commanding length is couched in soft and yielding lawn
while echoes round ad round about sound the thunderous fall.
The requiem, the birds lament, is hardly sung
when a young Willow shoot emerges from the stump.
It smiles at the crack in the wall.
Both poems are by June Niddrie, who has completed a Planet Poetry course with Dorian Haarhoff.