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.