First Vaccine
Cold pulse blues
no foot tapping pleasure
disco’s over and out throbbed
by the rules. Grazed spirits
and spring’s cold heart
blusters and subdues. Behave
beehive - go orange all jam
blasts - no bitter, succulent.
Map out of date, swing small
roundabout, chicane, road hump
right hand drive? I’ve left.
Velcroed warp speed to Dover.
Jungles jingle Calais psychopomp
passport strapped on. Marriage's
melody twangs bungee chord. BUMP.
Twang twang this caravan’s tail happy.
Retrace someplace. Found out sound
where Britanskata Poetesa takes aim:
BANG. Mount Olympus’s compass
bypasses kinship. Laurels or nettles madam?
WHOOSH. The dish ran away farewelling
the spoon. Miss Moffit without tough shit
three dogs jump, two bark at the moon
away with Dr Freedom I presume. POP.
In the illusion of language we envision eggs
neatly lined up on the farm shop shelf sorted
by size, nestled in soft blue cardboard -
eggs laid by happy hens who feast on organic
vegan leftovers lovingly delivered three times a day
to their stoat and fox proofed two room insulated
Palais des Poulet. Not a half-timbered historic listed
miniature in the style of a royal doll’s house, something
more crafty, creative - it might be a garden feature.
More prison than pleasure with all that fencing of different
gauges of wire, defences that reinforce hen vulnerability.
What yellow yolks you have dear ladies, what dreams
of freedom you have dizzy fowl, as you cluster
on your man-made easy to clean roosting bars
your avian sisters sing of leafy branches, of flying.
To Do List by Bertie
Eat. Hop around. Wag. Gaze lovingly. Eat.
Run as fast as possible after Pablo
Imply I am always on an important mission
Do not let anyone know I have no idea why I am chasing Pablo.
Look beseeching. Wag. Gaze etc.
Eat faster than Freddie or Pablo.
Rush around when humans are in the hen run.
Gaze lovingly at eggs. Wag.
Trot and bounce to the house and investigate all bags or boxes.
Get inside bags and rootle around for crumbs. Lick frantically.
Try to exit the bag by myself - if unsuccessful howl for help.
Station myself directly under the kitchen table. Squeak a few times.
Monitor who is the messiest human, the one likely to drop a titbit.
Dig in any pile of clothes hanging around on the floor.
Sleep - snore loudly in a warm spot right where humans need to stand.
Ignore whoever is calling my name.
Resume food hunt. Wag. Wiggle. Dig.
Try to be superior around the feline king Mr Tom. Do not wag. Glare.
Go to the office with the tall male human.
Share the swivel special office chair with that same human.
If the telephone rings bark and bark and bark. Snore.
If anyone knocks on any door bark and bark and bark. Wag.
Eat. Wag. Wiggle. Lurk afterwards hoping for scattered leftover dogfood.
Watch Netflix nestled deep into a huge yellow bean bag.
If an animal appears on the telly bark and squeal madly.
Rush squealing to the garden door, squeal more loudly.
Insist humans let me out so that I can instigate an incident in the dark.
Squeal. Bark. Hurry back to the house. Patrol job done.
Get on the sofa with the humans to watch telly. Wag. Snore.
Repeat incident listed above if an animal reappears on screen.
Sleep. Fart. Sit on humans. Snore. Try to steal some chocolate.
Rush around in the moonlight chasing phantoms.
Cadge a treat just before bed. Look beseeching. Wag.
Eat. Sleep. Snore. Fart. Bark. Squeal. Sigh.

Daphne Astor is an American-born British conservationist and farmer working with literary and visual arts organisations in the UK since 1977. In 2016-2017 she founded and curated Poetry in Aldeburgh, she is currently chairperson of C4RD and was a long-term trustee of the Poetry School. Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies and magazines including Magma, Finished Creatures and Coast to Coast to Coast. She recently became publisher and editor of Hazel Press.

Daphne Astor

Poem and photograph © Daphne Astor 2021

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *