20th NOVEMBER 2003 – 27TH APRIL 2017


The voles are not wanted now, And shrews are no longer needed, either.

My friend, cohort, companion and familiar –

She is Dead.

We hunted, wandered, and explored, together. She high amongst the

oaks, whilst I paused, beneath the trees. Then stood below,

a stepping stone, back to earth again.

The rabbits are lazy now; and lope away, where before: thumping,

and a flight of fur; she flushed them.

The cattle, our friends against the canines, can wander as they like.

They are not required today.

She is not here, and the house is silent.

Small birds now, are complacent. The trees aloud with sound.

The dogs and foxes she liked to bother, walk past, with impunity;

They are not wanted now.

The corvids loud and unmolested. No longer slice the air above, hoping to divide and conquer.

That would never be.

The other cats, fat and dull compared now sit and glare.

She has gone.

I tramped through snow, she leapt the drifts. We battled the wind and after rain & thunder shared a towel and went to bed.

We sat together for hours. She, upon my knee, as I read on, deep down in the depths of wilderness.

We hid together and watched out together.

Riding my shoulders, growling, vibrating, till owners, mutts ahead, departed.

Then watching; noting details, her body warm against my ears, her tail around my head, directing.

We’d listen to the tawny owls, and later the tiny birds would start the chorus.

I’d wait for her, as she hunted gardens. Standing under lights, as though a woman of the night, till, with a gentle stroke, she’d let me know, and we would continue, carefully through the early morning light.

The boys and girls in blue, were mystified, confused. it seems a torch is not a tool against the dark, and walking a cat is not the usual behaviour.

Though soon enough they learnt -we weren’t the usual cat & ‘owner’.

Together we gazed in awe at kingfishers, daubentons, kites and kestrels; all hunters too.

I watched as stoat or weasel (I don’t know which), turned and hissed; her curiosity knew no bounds.

And several times we sat until the deer departed and once or twice we stopped to listened to heavy noises from the bank. Then once we watched with paws scrabbling he disappeared away towards the bridge.

We searched together for fresh monticles; dark, soft and so very long – unintentional gifts from men in velveteen jackets. Then a balance; four paws to the edge with tail held high, before the scattering, of soft brown earth.

A gaze, a look, was all it took before I knelt, so she could climb; from knee and onto shoulder, to gaze across and use my height, once more to her advantage. Or, without a warning, if standing still, she might just run, and climbing hard against my m’skins, clamber up, to gaze upon the misted world.

The cattle would nibble jackets, and she would retreat a foot, or two. Till their curiosity abated, and then she would come out and walk with me, near enough, but not too near.

She liked to walk apart from me, along the edge, her shadow dancing above the water. Then would stop to watch the boats, with geese approaching fast, but would come away when called.

She chased the dogs, and foxes too, disappearing, distance far; to return again with tail held high, calling back to me.

She loved to leap, and dance, stiff legged and high, as Spring got in the air.

I watched as she intently stepped, into a coney’s burrow; to reappear; a little dusty, but none the worse for that.

Together we herded ducks, hunted voles together, basked against a tree or two, and called and found each other, when out of sight too long.

Once we watched a baited owl land above our heads, exhausted resting, three foot higher, Until we left him to recover.

We would stop a while and I would paddle, gently in the Gade, and she would come and lap a little, before we ran together, bolting back to the gate before the dogs began their morning walks.

Her paws would smell of earth, and grass, her coat of wind and rain.

Her claws were sharp, the sharpest pins, her teeth were tools of death.

She would allow me though, to spread her claws, and rub my thumb against her teeth, whilst purring upon my lap.

She slept and dreamt, within my bed, her head upon my shoulder, legs and tail entangled within my arms. Her whiskers twitching gently, a tickle against my face.

No longer will there be, the hunts beneath the beds; no moves of tables, chairs and things to trap and then return, the wild thing back, as evenings turn to dark.

No puffs of feathers left,  No note, no proof of day’s success.

There are no calls to arms, no calls to tell, no calls to walk, to eat, or bed.

She no longer waits upon the wall, or scrambles o’er the gate.

There is no weight against my legs, no claws outstretched against my skin, as I curl, within my bed.

I will not find her, upon her side, deep within my drawers, kicking socks and other things out upon the floor.

She would disappear and return too late, perhaps once or twice a year. Shaking her fur and smelling of night, calming my terrible fears.

She flirted with vets, respectable men, and put up with females too, but wouldn’t accept disrespect and would make her feelings known.

The common & estate are different now.

The kingfishers are whistling still, and the wrens still tick, but, they no longer come to scold.

It is so different now.