Otters At The Bottom Of the Garden

Today we are asked to describe a place, then top off our description with a philiosphical bon mot or two. Fab. Of course, I immediately rifled my memories for sunlit riverbanks, demanded my imagination populate the scene with otters. But then I remembered a place I had already promised myself I would write about this month, a garden I pass every day, a garden blessed with… an ornamental otter!!!!!!!


This simple bench, its back against

the pebble dash, is a trap for sun

on which I sit, patient as bait.

In the eaves a host of starlings

whirr, click and chuff, discordant

choristers for a strange faith.

A road may be inferred beyond

the horizon of the garden wall,

from the odd passages of cars.

In their wake a sucking, slapping

almost entirely irregular boom.

I believe it is high tide. Yes, yes,

the bells of St Hilda’s nod agreement,

A stray beam of April illuminates

the pocket lawn, a square-cut emerald,

whose margins are as dense with foliage

and critters as a mediaeval Gospel.

Gargoyles and dwarves wink plastic eyes

under fancifully unscrolling hosters.

Amid bluebells, a goose gawps upwards,

its white throat a column of greed,

twice the height of the flamingo.

And at my feet, resplendent,

scampers the piece de resistance –

the moulded-resin, stone-effect,

not-quite-life-sized otter, apogee

of all that is good and pleasing.

It is not to have what you want,

but to want what you have,

that is true happiness.



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