The Charming Mammal

The rapid upwards scattering of gulls
is strange. We stare across the placid lake
and spot some movements. Ripples, paddles, sculls…
and dive. Then bubbles rise and drift and break –

a minute, maybe, passes… suddenly,
a furry head appears, with twinkling eyes,
a twitching snout and ears erect in glee,
the mouth concealed behind a flapping prize –

a fish! We watch the charming mammal swim
towards the shore and clamber up the bank,
quite burly in its body, lithe of limb,
a certain cuddliness of silken flank.

It drops the fish and seems to yawn. We gasp.
The teeth! So sharp and glinting in the sun!
The fish is finished off with one last clasp,
while we consider other prizes won…

Two years ago, all cygnets disappeared;
are these the fangs that dragged them from their nest?
Impossible to know; so much is feared.
The otter eats, blood dripping down its chest.


Felicity Teague

If you have any thoughts about this poem,  Felicity Teague   would be pleased to hear them