The loud purring Of a sensitive soul Rumbles across my lap A gentleman-mouser Whose claws are rarely Sheathed in my flesh Save for those few Accidental motions. He pauses in his Hypnotic kneading Of careful paws Twitches a whisker Opens a lazy eye We are content Devoted Familiar and Current Provider of ear-scratches Precious moments spent together Do not last as long As they once did Those rare islands Of near-silence I try to spend Writing. Such a distraction Is sadly unacceptable In company My failure to stroke Soft furry egos While fingers Play over lettered keys And coffee cools At a careless elbow Lead to gentle taps Polite, then more insistent I frown and mutter Trying to shake loose Some old ideas From new forehead creases Transmit them to my dusty screen Before the next Set of demands is issued By the charming pout Of the other House Tyrant Whose three-year-reign Continues to sway The working lives Of all her subjects. It is not enough. I cannot please all Of my many masters Not this day. As gentle snores fade to yawns I sift through the tired Dog-eared card catalogue Housed temporarily for safekeeping Within my rapidly emptying skull Brain cycling faster The vocalisation Begins in earnest Close behind my ear “Miaouw!” He is starting to insist “Pssst! Shush!” It is a futile gesture To try to silence An old friend The search continues There are paws on my shoulder Tapping, prodding A hint of sharpness A gentle shove Hot breath on my neck Can I find a verbal noun, Subclause, or synonym To convey my sense Of panic at the first stirrings Of any sleeping creature Under four feet But still a giant? Too late. “Mummy!” I hiss my discomfort At the sudden perforation Of my thigh. Time’s up once again.
As the first strains of the piano
Arpeggios arch through the gloom
Of the blinds-pulled living room
You curl in my arms
Nuzzle for a breast
As if you were not outgrowing
So keen to stretch skyward
When will I be a Big Girl, Mummy?
Soon enough, my lovely,
This hour is my solace.
Your warm breath on my shoulder
Legs folded around my thigh
We embrace upon the sofa.
I ignore the floor
What little of it remains visible
In the chaos of your wake
Toys strewn like flotsam.
I am drowning by inches
Yet this is not playtime
I will not despair
For my once neat home
It matters little
And shall be overcome
Once we are both back on our feet.
Eyelids flutter as we reach for
The second movement
Ears adjusting to familiar rhythms
I reach for the mouse
Scroll to the next page
Of our story
Welcoming this forced pause
Suspended in our time
Inhabiting this shared space
To the end of the lullaby
“I like your face.”
The stranger smiled
A friendly eye
In a hostile world
Not to be ignored
At the end of a week
Whose gentle slide
From bad to cess –
Until she could feel
Over the abyss
Clutching at nothing
More than the last
Frayed threads of temper.
Not minding this overture
To a careful discussion of
And closing with
Best wishes for
The weekend’s rest,
“Thank you” she said
And meant it.
Something is missing from my little world
Time passes so swiftly it’s almost absurd
As soon as my first daily job has been done
I’m already late starting on the next one.
Oh when will this treadmill let me catch my breath?
I’ve been working so hard, though young, I feel like death.
When finally homeward I wearily tread
It’s hardly worth sleeping, much less going to bed.
For changing to nightgown, brushing hair and teeth,
Wastes such precious time that I get no relief
And scrambling through supper and other routine
Makes senseless my efforts to rest or keep clean.
Even on the weekends, my work’s never done
As between friends and fam’ly, my time’s not my own.
Before I am ready it’s Monday alas,
And the whole wretched cycle starts over apace.
Che non potrei dare per un solo giorno
Senza gli ordini – niente da fare
Ni appuntamenti, neanche un lavoro
Ma il dritto di scegliere quando alzarmi.
Non pass’rei quel tempo tranquillo in fretta
Ma mi goderei poi d’ore benedette
E ‘tta riposata mi guarderei intorno
Dicendo ‘alquanto bello e stato quel giorno?’