The Nursery

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photo at pixabay
Last night in dreams I went again to my old house in Castle Lane
I climbed the stairs up to the top, by the nursery door I came to a stop
I turned the knob and the door opened wide, I looked all around then stepped inside
By the flickering firelight shadows danced upon the walls. They leapt and pranced
Tiny footprints led from the door to the tattered rug that lay on the floor
On the window ledge sat Barnabus Bear sadly looking the worse for wear
He’d been to the opera and I think had just had a little too much to drink
His speech was slurred, his breath was beery and he couldn’t see quite clearly
But he got to his feet and with a gesture grand, bowed and politely shook my hand
A pale moon shone on the window seat where Amelia Jane all prim and neat
Reposed sedately in her outdoor clothes, coat, hat, fur-muff and stocking hose
She smiled and beckoned and I sat down, she said she was going up to town
She’d like to offer me some tea but the car was coming at a quarter to three
She tidied her hair with a tortoiseshell comb and told me to make myself at home
A light shone under the cupboard door, then a rumbling noise made me stir
The door flew open, I fell on my back as the Flying Scotsman flew onto the track
With whistle screaming and puffing steam the headlights casting a ghostly beam
Twice round the track he hurtled full pelt then back through the door, but I still knelt
As memories stirred by the pungent smell of the old transformer I remembered well
A race between trains for a tuppence bet and the Flying Scotsman is racing yet
In yonder corner something moves. I hear the thunder of horses’ hooves
With a flick of his tail and a toss of his mane old Beaucephalis rides again
I jumped on his back and took up the reins, we galloped up mountains and down leafy lanes
With the wind in my hair and my hand on the crop we rode round the world till we rocked to a stop
Just then the tramp of marching feet made my poor heart miss a beat. I turned.
It was just as I thought, a hundred lead soldiers advanced from their fort
The armies lined up, English and French, I watched them do battle and choked on the stench of gun powder, smoke, the wounded and dying, I stood there transfixed and silently crying
The room grows silent. I feast my eyes for one last time ere the fire dies
The memory has faded, the dream it has fled. I wake in the chill morn alone in my bed

Mary Younger

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Mother Wolf

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mother wolf | catriona messenger | photo at pixabay

With pounding heart I speed,
And with heaving chest, I gasp.
The air wrenched in,
I must endure,
Or my pups, they will not last.
The calf from the herd, we have coerced,
For his mother, his voice is shrill!
A shriek of fear, he bolts chaotic,
We shall break his will.
We move on him, it is not long,
Defeated his courage gives in.
No mother came to rescue him,
He is forsaken, it is our win.
As we bring him down I hear his pain,
His fear consumes my heart.
My pack tear at his flesh and bones,
Broken from his soul, I played my part.
I stand still heaving, for want of air,
And behold this calf’s demise.
The cry’s now silent,
The air is still,
Grey cloud of death across his eyes.
I have to choose my pups or theirs,
My chest aggrieved for his mother’s loss.
I will protect my pups, their life is mine,
I resolve to feed them – at any cost!

Catriona Messenger