It’s National Poetry Day! Hip, hip hooray! This fabulous poem today is from Philip Gross, whose life as a Quaker informs much of what he writes with its special relationship between words and silence. His work includes poetry for adults and for children, thought-provoking fiction for young people, schools opera libretti, radio short stories and plays. His children’s poetry includes The All-Nite Café, illustrated by Claire Fletcher, which won the Signal Award, and Off Road To Everywhere, illustrated by Jonathan Gross, the winner of the CLiPPA (CLPE) poetry award 2011. His latest book, Dark Sky Park (Otter Barry), illustrated by Jesse Hodgson, was nominated for a CLiPPA this year.
with small scritchety claws
eyes that looked raw
as if they’d cried all night…
One morning they were gone.
says Dad. Gone to stay
with their friends
in the pet shop. And so I pretend
I don’t know about the cage door
he left open. I try to ignore
the look on the face of the cat.
It isn’t that
wakes me up in the darkness. No,
it’s the scritch and the scratch
at the bars, those pink-eyed
lies. They’re only little
white ones, oh
but watch them breed and grow.
© Philip Gross (first published in Off Road To Everywhere (Salt, 2009)
Thank you for the fabulous poem, Philip Gross!