Halfway through the new Ted Hughes biography
and I’m oblivious to the back-yard carnage.
Double glazing does its job. The stereo’s on,
Lenny whipping up the sensuous agonies of Mahler.
The tableau waits for me to step outside, armful
of washing from the machine and a peg basket
I manage not to drop: feathers everywhere
like the punchline in a Merrie Melodies cartoon
and a bone-cage still smudged with viscera. Didn’t
Tweety Pie always escape Sylvester? I never saw
the one with the mutilated canary. This is urban
Nottingham not Court Green or a lecture hall
where the party line on nature poetry is “red
in tooth and claw”. This isn’t fox or jaguar
or hawk. This is the work of a neighbourhood cat
I’ve doubtless fed and fussed. Nothing has entered
my consciousness with paw-print or rank scent.
There is no poetry in this plastic bag folded
inside-out over the scoop of a dustpan, the angling
of wrist and implement, the taking up of remains.
Neil Fulwood is the co-editor, with David Sillitoe, of the anthology More Raw Material: work inspired by Alan Sillitoe. His poetry has featured in The Morning Star, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, International Times and Ink, Sweat and Tears. His debut collection, No Avoiding It, is forthcoming from Shoestring Press in 2017.