The Slug, a Plea

Slugs. Never been a fan. As a gardener I have treated them as the enemy. But is that fair? Without slugs there would be an awful lot of rotting vegetable matter cluttering up the garden. Perhaps, as this poem suggests, I need to rethink my relationship to slugs.

The Slug, a Plea

You squash us
and slice us.
You bash us
and dice us.
It’s almost as if you don’t want us around.

We gnaw at your seedlings because they are weak,
the same for the hostas that bear a pale streak.
In vegetable patches and in the raised bed
we clear up the dying, the rotten, the dead.

You drown us
in beer traps,
Drop egg shells
without gaps.
Why is it us slugs that you torture and hound?

By munching the rubbish we make the ground clear:
we give you a space for your planting next year.
But take us away and the earth will be spread
with all of the dying, the rotten, the dead.

Relieve us.
Just leave us.
Ignore us,
don’t paw us.
We’re working with you on a shared piece of ground.

© Huw Evans 2019

Fish 2

Some time ago I wrote a rather scathing poem about goldfish, those dull yet troubling pets. Over the years I have come to think the poem does fish a disservice. This sonnet, which looks at real piscine wonders, is the act of restitution. In the final collection (yes, I am planning one, self-published if needs be) it will sit immediately after the original poem, which is entitled ‘Fish 1’.

Fish 2

Scorn goldfish tanks, come to the brine
and plunge to fathoms far below
the shallow range of lure and line,
find wonders where the sun can’t go.

Take angler fish, with glowing bait:
the smaller male swims to a mate,
his teeth latch on, all’s going great
as he starts to assimilate.

Skin fuses, both eyes drop away
and all his organs are absorbed,
except, of course, his testes stay.
The female swims on undisturbed.

We’ll leave the male a parasite
and drift back slowly to the light.

© Huw Evans 2019

Packet Ninja

This poem has taken me nearly ten years to write, because it is a found poem: each line is a safety warning taken from the operating instructions to an object. I collected the warnings as I came across them, then arranged them to make what might be a set of instructions for a ninja on an assassination mission. The original items are listed underneath the poem.

Packet Ninja

Keep hidden and away from children.
Keep out of the reach and sight of children.
Keep away from eyes and ears.

Do not work near edge of bed.
Do not cover breathing hole.
Avoid giving shock.

Strike softly away from body.
Keep clear of unpropped body.
Rattle noise is normal.

©Huw Evans 2019

(Sources: pills, Bazooka gel, party poppers, lorry, hard drive, hard drive, matches, van, hard drive)

We are the Little Birds of France

At almost every meal eaten outdoors in France, whether a rough snack outside a tent, or lunch at one of the restaurants in the Tuileries Gardens, there are little birds darting in and out to snatch fragments of food. I felt they deserved a poem, so I wrote one, in English. Then I thought they should be commemorated in something nearer to French. Finally, I gave them a full French version – which does not scan.

We are the Little Birds of France

We are the little birds of France
Each luncheon time we do our dance
We table dive without regret
To snatch a fragment of baguette.

                           ***

Nous sommes les petit birds de France
Chaque déjeuner nous do our danse
Nous dive sous table sans regret
To snatch un morceau de baguette.

***

Nous sommes les petits oiseaux de France
Chaque déjeuner nous faisons notre danse
Nous plongeons à table sans regret
Pour prendre un fragment de baguette

© Huw Evans 2019