The picture above is the nest we found in the garden shed just after Christmas. Something had been stealing the rabbit food for a while unseen. When we found the hoard and the size and amount that had been dragged through a very small gap under the door (potatoes, carrots, toast!) we thought it must be either a huge rat, a squirrel or an unknown cat-sized animal. We set a humane trap and checked it twice a day – going in with a torch in the dark. We put a mince pie in on the hook and some cheese. After two weeks the food was still untouched. Then yesterday when the shed door was opened there was a loud, high squeaking noise and something in the trap going wild, like a ball of caught lightening bouncing ’round and ’round the cage. We looked it up and found it was a wood mouse. It was beautiful but so panicked we set it free straight away. It was so fast it seemed to disappear before the trap was even opened. It’s back in the shed now. It was a lovely treat to see a wild, living thing in otherwise a difficult week.
I went back to work and then almost straight off again as my daughter’s been very ill. Stressed and understaffed certainly applies to the NHS trust I work for. I felt very bad for not being in work at a critical time, but would’ve felt worse going in knowing I was needed at home. I thought Theresa May’s speech about funding for mental health was all sound (not even fury) signifying nothing.
I’ve tried to catch up on some sleep between dispensing medicine, tea, soup and water. I’ve not really been able to write much but a few notes. I’ve revised a few poems though and sent a few more off.
Watching the excellent Channel 4 News this week has confirmed the world’s going completely mad. Trump must have his fingers glued to his ‘phone. These constant Tweets! Are some things not too serious to be ‘Tweeted’? Potential war, for example, foreign policy, conversations with the CIA? It reminded me of my dad walking me to school, aged 6, and me asking “Dad, do you think I might be mad?” He laughed and said “everyone’s mad except me and thee and even thee’s a little queer.” I didn’t fully understand what he said, but I found it funny and comforting and the lines stuck. Looking them up just now, I’ve found so many variations on this quote. It’s attributed to Robert Owen. By ‘mad’ I think I meant different. It’s when you start to look outside yourself and pick faults with everything that doesn’t fit neatly into your world and your own ideas that you start to narrow your horizons and, with enough power, become a dangerous person.
I was delighted to be published in The Dawntreader this week. The editors seem like such genuinely lovely people who are passionate about poetry and I find their responses very encouraging and enthusiastic. I was also very pleased that my first ever pamphlet was highly commended in the Indigo Dreams competition. I’ve ordered the poems of Frank O’Hara and my uncle has sent me a very interesting collection of essays put together in the book Poetry and Privacy. Watching the Yellowstone documentaties, I’ve been longing to see these things up close: the bears, the wolves, the beaver dams. I’ll have to settle for the wood mouse for this week though and I’m not disappointed.