Wild Life

The grounds are a jungly mess. Sometimes
I try to trim. A bit. As far as I can go.
These last weeks I’ve made way into zones
where no human being has set foot for years.

Before the beginning, I had wanted
to remedy the world’s scarcity of arbours.
Since then, alders and roses have run
fairground-rampant, armlocked
with hawthorn and shady brambles.

That’s where I met the pheasant pullet.

She eyed me, curious-like. She wanted
to talk to me. She wanted to tell me
about herself, her life in the jungle,
about her mum, who was bigger than me
and meaner-looking too, and the silly
copper-coloured cock who was a bit scary
and whose face was so red; all these things -

I was ready to listen to her pheasantries,
to learn what life in the shrubs was like.
I wanted to feed her amber seeds, currants
and pickled lotus roots -

- suddenly her neck grew so long,
and she made off, in that headless
zigzag-skedaddling way pheasants do.

We had not been alone. I smelt him
before I saw him, the fox. He eyed me
skeptically, then his discerning gaze traced
the pheasant maiden’s path, like an engineer
calculating a simple trajectory.

He wanted to tell me an alien spaceship
had crashed in the moat.

Jane Røken

If you have any comments on this poem, Jane Røken would be pleased to hear from you.