Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Garden Rat

The Garden Rat

Under an arc of liquid ice,
streaking the window behind,
clashing on the canna leaves,
runs a black stripe of being
fast and blurry as
a faint memory passing and lost
in the midst of children’s calling clamor.
It’s the mysterious
Garden Rat.

Every day I don’t see it
move, it’s just passed me,
disappearing behind the trunks
of the crape myrtle, secret

I hunch myself defensively
when I reach to pull a weed.
It’s undefined, yes,
but it’s huge.
(For a rat)
I’m sure it has teeth
bigger than these spider eggs
I’m brushing off my glove,
and sharper than
old quarrels.

All summer I worried
and tried to avoid
The Garden Rat,
dark and diseased,
and hiding in the soft shed petals
of the black-eyed susan and
the weeds I was now
afraid to pull.

Then fall came, and the leaves fell.
The cannas crumbled to the ground.
I went one day to rake the remains,
and from behind the mummy of stalks
flashed the mysterious
black and rapid
Neighbor’s Cat;

The Garden Rat.
Pandora’s Cat.

November 2010

Posted for Jingle's Thursday Poet's Rally, Week #32

Image from  Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images


  1. intersting verse..i am imagining a pretty beastly looking rat...

  2. Under an arc of liquid ice,
    Streaking the window behind,
    Clashing on the canna leaves,
    Runs a black stripe of being
    Fast and blurry as
    A faint memory passing and lost
    In the midst of children’s calling clamor.
    It’s the mysterious
    Garden Rat.

    your words make a perfect match to the image above.
    stunning writing.
    enjoy your poetry very much.

  3. Welcome to Poets Rally,
    please find time scanning the participant list,
    visit and comment for a minimum 18 poets from my list, let me know after you are done.

    have a lovely weekend.

  4. Nicely written and I like the twist at the end.
    The cat must have been called 'Hope' of course.

  5. I'm trying, Jingle, I'm trying. I've read so many poems they're turning into giant word salad in my brain. I think I'm getting close, though.

    Thanks for your comments.

  6. @jessica
    Thanks--you got the point exactly. Just read your chocolate poem--really tasty in all ways.

  7. Really awesome! I like the way you leave a lot of space for your readers to interpret what happens. Its such a tough thing to do, and you pull it off fantastically!

  8. @bward42 Thanks--always trying for, not always hitting the less=more approach. Liked your 'not a generic' poem very much because it wasn't.
    @brianm O it was, it was...rats in the mental house always are, yes? thanks for coming by;enjoy your work.

  9. an ode to a garden rat.. how different a take! and clever twist at the end! :D

  10. Clever. Engaging. Well written. Nice twist and made me smile. Cats sometimes act out our intentions.

    This garden rat somehow sounds more like a big city rat. But then, I'm not familiar with garden writes.

    Delighted to find your site. Happy Rally days. Poem on ...

  11. That would be garden "rats" of course - not garden "writes." Though there's an idea!

  12. I like the surprise at the end. You had me worried about what was in the garden. Nice job.

  13. @Jamie: I actually thought garden writes made perfect sense. I do it a lot, anyway. Not sure if the species 'garden rat' really exists outside my over-active imagination; there are field rats who might get opportunistic, though--*looks over shoulder*-- Really enjoyed your excellent under lock & key piece.

    @Leo & lizbth: Thanks very much for taking time to comment. I appreciate it.

  14. Grrr, I think I forgot to go back down and do the scramble word.

    What I had said was, "sharper than old quarrels"...I like that.

  15. Ah, the fun things happening to us when our minds get carried away in fear, even from garden rats! Love the piece, I feel like I am in the garden already!

  16. Nice Nice Nice....I was pulled in even by the title. After reading I was excited (hope) the cat got that darn garden rat so you wouldnt have to hunch defensively

  17. The picture is well presented with your words.... :)

  18. @Fireblossom;yes--those scramble codes are annoying, but not as annoying as spam bots. Also I hate it that you can't edit comments and fix stupid typos.
    Thanks for your comment--the little stuff that just comes as a gift is what makes things work sometimes.

    Thanks to all who've taken the time to visit and share their thoughts.

  19. "Teeth... sharper than old quarrels" Brilliant line! Pandora's cat. Pandora's box...
    I like this one a lot.
    Happy Rally! My entry:
    PS Hedgewitch/Fireblossom- in Wordpress with "Manage my comments" you can edit what you've written in comments (and what other people write, as well)

  20. great poem of the seasons. loved the turn at the end with the neighbor's cat. put a smile on my face. great imagery throughout!

  21. Your writing is simply amazing....


  22. extremely interesting, love the word play!

  23. Thanks for taking the time to comment all. I appreciate it and will check out your sites.

  24. welcome linking in a poem to our potluck today, Thanks in advance!

  25. The poem and the rhyme are very interesting such that there are many rats and cats available in the gardens.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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