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‘To a Mole’

Mouldiwarp, tunnel-grubber
you with the shovel-paws pink as my skin,
the purblind eyes, never once
have I seen your snout poke through a lawn,
caught a flick of your tail
though I’ve grieved for you, rural guerrilla,
gibbeted on barbed wire.

King-toppler, gentleman in velvet,
snuffling root-vaulted mazes
driven to company by the sting of sex,
fierce to defend your patch,
a single cloudburst can undo your effort
yet everywhere I walk
I stumble on your handiwork.

Earth-mover, I salute your graft
your cussedness
your refusal of sun.

A C Clarke’s fourth collection, In The Margin (Cinnamon Press), was published in 2015. Owersettin (Tapsalteerie Press) a three-way poetic conversation in English, Scots and Gaelic in collaboration with Sheila Templeton and Maggie Rabatski, was published in 2016. Her fifth collection centred on the medieval visionary Margery Kempe is due out from Oversteps Press next month (May 2017).

“‘To a Mole’ was a response to an assignment on David Tait’s extremely helpful and inspiring course Every Word Counts and has benefited from his editing suggestions  and the suggestions of the group members. The assignment was to choose an animal as a subject for a poem, using it to make a point about a human experience. I identify strongly with moles! ‘Mouldiwarp’ is an old word for a mole and ‘little gentleman in velvet’ was a Jacobite toast – because it was said that William of Orange died after his horse threw him when it stumbled on a molehill, leading to the temporary re-accession of the Stuarts under Queen Anne.”

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Image Credits:

Steve Taylor