Goodbye Ephraim

The old grey cat spent his days
drowsing tranquilly on the bed
of  the first child, who was gentle
with him from the day he was first
put on her lap and her little hand
stroked him from head to tail.
The second child patted him hard,
rubbed his fur roughly.
Ephraim would slink outside.
He would sit with the woman
in the garden as she
weeded, planed, pruned.

One day sharp pains invaded his gut,
the vet said they could only ease them.
Ephraim went to sunbathe on the roof
but could not climb back down.
His cries of pain brought the
woman up the ladder to his rescue.
Now he stayed on the first child’s
bed, only sometimes going outside.

Early one Sunday, opening one eye,
he saw no readying for work
or kindergarten that day.
He slipped into sleep, the deepest sleep,
and they left him on the first child’s
bed for final tearful goodbyes.

Later that day the man dug a grave
between clumps of blue grass
in the garden. They covered Ephraim
with soil, flowers, farewells.

For several days the children placed
flowers on the little grave,  finally
seeing Ephraim was resting for ever.

Previously posted July 2016

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Goodbye Ephraim

At The Meat Chiller

On a busy morning at the
supermarket meat chiller
I studied shelves of
sausages, chops, mince
and shin meat on the bone.
I tried to slide right
to see the chicken packs, lamb
knuckles, corned beef brisket
but the person to my right
simply would not move.
I sidestepped along slightly crowding
but still they did not move.

I turned to say “Excuse me !”
and found myself facing my
reflection in the mirror
on the end section wall.

Previously posted June 2016

At The Meat Chiller

Pensioner Payday

Every second Tuesday morning
on pensioner payday
the oldies fill the supermarket
aisles as they stock up for
the next fortnight. They stop
and stare at shelves of
biscuit packets, cereal boxes,
packs of mince and sausages.
mobile customers ease their
trolleys around the less mobile
as trolley jams cause hiccups
in the traffic  flow along
the crowded aisles. Soap
powder shelves are blockaded
fruit tin pyramids besieged,
chicken shelves at the meat
freezers are surrounded
by tightly packed trolleys.

At last the wheeled tide
reaches the checkouts barrier
flowing slowly past the tills
paying for carrots and potatoes
bread and margarine.

Out on the forecourt two rows
of mobility scooters line up
nose to nose awaiting their riders
with their tightly packed bags.
Walkers with bulging bags
attached move steadily away.
We younger ones with our trundlers
step briskly along the footpath
and nifty little pensioner cars
tootle briskly down the road.

Previously posted June 2016

Pensioner Payday

Wilful

To rule the world
with a will of iron
is the tabby hunter’s
purpose in life.

She sneaks birds inside,
buries dead birds
in piles of dolls’ clothes.
She creeps into the bedroom,
curls up on the five year old’s head
purring loudly until removed.

She slips into the garage
full of power tools and
hazardous substances,
refuses to come out,
later meows loudly
to be let out. She then rushes
to her bowl for sustenance.

Last school holidays she stopped
coming in, even for meals.
Her black and white friend
drooped and pined for her.
Her family thought she was gone forever
but after nine days she returned,
ravenous but not thirsty.
Locked in another garage ?
with a laundry tub ?
She’s not telling a soul.

Now she meows loudly at her family
when she comes home,
checks little girls in their beds
in the mornings, checks
everyone coming home.

For now she stays out of the garage
as she is told to do.

Previously posted May 2016.

Wilful

Cat Flap

The tabby hunter
was most displeased
yesterday afternoon.
Someone locked the cat flap
and went out for quite a while.

When Mummy came home with
groceries and little girls from school,
Tabby meowed at her loud and long
as Mummy stood and stared.
“She’s telling me off !” she said,
then she put away the groceries
while ignoring Tabby’s harangue.

Young Chloe checked the back
door, unlocked the offending flap.
“You shouldn’t bring your birds
inside !” she told the outraged tiger.

Now therein lies the problem
which Tabby does not see.
She brings her birds inside
takes them round each room
as they scatter poo and feathers
until they die of shock.
Then she buries them in the living
room for little girls to find.

Five year old sensibilities
are distressed by lifeless birds.
Mummy doesn’t like cleaning up
bird feathers and poo.

While Tabby keeps on hunting
she will always be locked out
when the family are not at home
to reject her hunting trophies.

She’ll be far away from the sunny couch,
from beds covered with teddy bears,
and the luxurious faux fur throw
on Mummy and Daddy’s bed.

Previously posted May 2016

Cat Flap

Brownie

Nana lives with her
ten year old dog Brownie.

When Chloe and Claire ate
their afternoon tea on the deck
with Brownie’s nose on their plates
Nana shut Brownie in her bedroom.

Chloe sat on the floor in
Nana’s living room reading
“The Gruffalo’s Child”.
Brownie licked her feet.

“EEUUGH !” shrieked Chloe. “Tell
her to stop licking me !” Brownie
likes licking people and won’t stop.
Nana shut her out in the garden.

Chloe and Nana made special
modelling dough with flour
and water and salt. Chloe made
stars and flowers and fairies.

She put them on a tray on the bird
table to dry out, ready to paint.
Brownie jumped up high, knocked
them all to the ground, and ate them.

Chloe said she hated Brownie. Nana shut
Brownie outside while they made more
stars and flowers and fairies and
dried them on the kitchen table.

Brownie likes early morning walks
with Nana in the park
and quiet evenings with her
in the living room.

Previously posted May 2016.

Brownie

Cremation

The brick wall towers over
the low curtained aperture.
The silent congregation watches
his coffin slide over the
narrow rails, the curtains
draw back to make way
for his exit down to
the crematorium fire below
to burn the outer shell and
energy of the soul he used to be.

Yet it does not extinguish
the fine spun steel web he twisted
around us from our earliest days,
a web of self doubt, uncertainty,
never knowing where we stood.
clinging to each other a first,
we gradually moved apart as we
saw those spun steels for ourselves,
walked away from them.

As we each find, untwist, our
own strands of that web,
we allow ourselves to achieve,
to love and be loved,
find joy in life, walking
in our own directions.

Two of us have recognised the web
and look for fulfilment each day.
One of us has yet to
acknowledge fully the web
denies all its power over us.

Will we ever find
a close relationship
with each other again ?

Previously posted May 2016

 

Cremation