the millipede (25/Sept/18)

a millipede walked across my carpet with more legs than a centipede and yet much smaller than… where was it going, where was it bound across this landscape featureless where not a pattern to be found or discerned… I’ll never know, you’ll never know… I picked it up, it wriggled in objection, I dropped it, it proceeded on its unknown quest, I picked it up again, it wriggled again perhaps more than the last wriggle, probably a bit miffed at this interruption… did it know I wasn’t a centipede?… centipedes have a taste for the taste of millipedes which I think is just an extreme jealous over-reaction at themselves having fewer legs, up to four times less in fact with millipedes having up to 400 (not 1000 as the name may allude, probably because whoever first named them looked and exclaimed, “what a f*** load of legs!” and was too much a scaredy-cat to count)… having managed to place it on my palm where it wriggled confusedly working out which way to take its many legs I opened a window and out said window sent it on its way, whatever way that turned out to be, the wriggle-way, obviously ……  … … …

© 2018 robert greig

slippery when wet (19/September/18)

sitting, waiting, edge of my pen for something to occur… inspiration?… yes, I’ve heard of it… inspiration everywhere but not a thought to think… or at least one that can be lassoed and corralled, tamed and named, hammered and tonged into submission, or perhaps preferably gently persuaded through dialogue and the appropriate diplomatic channels… it’s a
slippery
eel
as if there was any other kind of anguillidae…… once I had an eel that wrapped itself around my forearm, a freshwater eel, in such a way a snake might resembling a worryingly elaborate torc, all sick, slimy and yes, slippery except it wouldn’t slippery itself from my arm of it’s own volition… I of course did that cartoon-comical thing of shaking my arm like some demented helicopter and then attempted to peel it off, by unwinding it but if you’ve ever held a full-grown eel they are not only slippery but pretty much all muscle and when they contract, wow, do they contract and this one was contracting, and tightening… I looked it in the eye, and it looked at me back during this battle of attrition which as far as I could work out neither me nor the glorified bracelet was winning until I had a brainwave, I admit they come around very rarely but, as I was stood right next to a river from whence I had hooked and angled this armless foe now getting increasingly attached to my arm, I put my hand into the water submerging it and voila!… off it came and swam into its flowing, murky depths… now why didn’t I think of that sooner, after all this was in my days when I used to go fishing a lot and catch things like eels, look at them proudly and then always put them back as back then I didn’t eat fish, and incidentally still don’t and will never eat an eel now… I learnt a lot about fish and rivers and the nature of those waterscapes from doing that but I suppose most of all I discovered how much I liked the solitude, and this was the days before mobile phones…. bliss… you can never really fully understand or respect an eel until you’re up and close and personal with one.

© 2018 robert greig

beady blue eyes (12/Sept/18)

like swallows or starlings the jackdaws balance on power line in uncomfortable rows as though it’s not quite in their nature to do so, but unlike the swallows and starlings they’re envious of their aerial attires and skill in the air, swallows the acrobats, starlings the dazzlers, both unaware of banquet of envious eyes looking on and wishing, wishing, why they weren’t born a swallow or starling and instead just a jackdaw, the colours of shadows and all too soon sporting tinges of grey as though aging before ones time, though their beady blue eyes are a sight to behold as little they know that blue eyes are rare in this avian world, almost but not quite unique… and they balance quiet well but not quite as deft as swallows or starlings with their delicate claws as opposed to the slightly more wrinkly digits adorning the jackdaws legs… the jack’ is an envious bird as can be heard in their infernal squabbling during the day they crackle away and come the night the gossip on every complaint while they wait and they wait and they wait balanced on power lines, waiting and waiting some more until… well, until none of them knows what happens and drives them back on the air in a race to the rookery (see, it’s not even named after them… o the poor jackdaw!) to play musical branches once again a free-for-all frenzy and made even worse when a headwind’s determined to foil their best-laid plotting and scheming, most unlike the swallows and starlings to whom the jackdaws see have got their collective acts together… or have they?… the swallow who constantly worries about eating enough and not eating too much for a thousand and more miles of migration south through paroxysms of weather, sportsmen with guns, wind determined to blow them off course…. and the starling, safer in numbers than out of their own and suitably small for a sparrowhawks beak, or even a kestrels, a buzzards, a magpie, maybe an occasional crow and even when they find succour among the tall reeds in their hundreds and thousands there’s weasels and ferrets, foxes and cats and even a bittern or heron ready to gobble them up so…… so the jackdaws look on unaware that maybe, just maybe it could be much worse……… but, but why couldn’t they have a nice song to sing!

© 2018 robert greig