Brian Johnstone

Dwellers in the Hollows of the Wall

The rat runs weeks of endless rain
and sodden ground
urged those rodents to dig out

years back, allowed this more benign
invader in – stoat,
who shivers in the wall space

every winter, rustles plaster dust
and grit from laths
that keep our worlds apart,

to brush with noise the silence
of the small hours
sleep would benefit to do without;

but sees off rats that better winters
and the catcher’s traps
have driven back to lairs deep

below the road, a loathsome presence
kept at bay, at least
for now, but ever there, beyond

the burrows’ hidden mouths,
beyond disquiet
lurking here deep within the house.

Copyright © Brian Johnstone 2016

Brian Johnstone has published six collections, most recently Dry Stone Work (Arc, 2014) and his work appears on The Poetry Archive website. His memoir Double Exposure is due out from Saraband next year.


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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