You don’t see much as nothing happens here –
There’s just one road and then the other lane;
And walking through you rarely meet another –
Just the birds and wind among the wires
Tiresome traffic, motorbikes and tractors
Lorries, buses, caravans and trailers
Bowl along the little narrow highway
And add metallic colours to the scenery.
We see the wildlife happy in their places
Safe from the road and living in the cornfields
Among the hedges and along the ditches
In the trees secure in nesting boxes
But yesterday – a rabbit in the roadway
In sunshine too – not right for a nocturnal.
He wandered left and right and stood and rested
And then I knew that he was lost and frightened.
I walked a little further on the pavement
And stood beside the road and spoke quite slowly:
“Get over to the kerb” I told him plainly
And so he walked away from where the voice was
And then I saw his daylight was as darkness;
The red eyes showed that now he saw no sun.
And as the cars sped past on either side
I watched the kitten try and wash his eyes
I could not stand to see him die on tarmac
And saw him try to jump up to the verge
And not being brave myself I wondered how
He might get back to find his little burrow.
The wind had made the corner fraught with danger
But quickly then I crossed our busy road
And stood behind the rabbit in the gutter
And then he turned his ears to me and heard.
He and I moved on with halting footsteps
And just as I bent down to help him up
He jumped and found the bank at his right side
To feel at last the grass beneath his paws.
I know what made him sick and know full well
That interference with some things makes ill;
This fever is so cruel and is not fast
A lonely painful death will be his last.
I hope he found some patch to rest his frame
I worried all the night at what I’d seen.
Disease is cruel for all – but we have hope
Please do not tell me rabbits feel no pain.
And although I have no sling or gun
For once I thought to have one would be right
To make the dispatch quick and free from pain
A rabbit who had lived in day as night