Running back to Beverley
Slowing – out of breath
Noticed by the roadside
Innocent in death
Coiled in foetal curl.
Took the chance to stop and muse
The ironies of this world.
Scurrying through history
Dirty and diseased
Bearing pestilence and plague
Buboes, boils and fleas
Biting, bitten, devilish hordes
Longtails whipping frenziedly
Messengers from hell.
Yet here alone - beside the road - open to inspection
This solitary creature caused a moment of reflection.
Its paws were poised in silent prayer
Pink eyes sought out blind skies
Incisive dentures gnawed no more
Whiskers twitched at the wind’s soft sighs
And this was not a devil caked in filth and dirt
But a harbinger of heaven, angelic in its hurt
And will there somewhere be another
Missing brother, father, son?
Mourning the passing of this lone rat
In its turn now overrun
I resumed my run to Beverley
Regained my second breath
With thoughts of love and loneliness
And liveliness and death
Uncertain of my destiny
The how, the when, the where
I turned my own eyes heavenward
And breathed a wordless prayer