In a glass cabinet amongst the packed and stacked exhibits in the extraordinary Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy on University Street in Bloomsbury, there is a jar of moles. Fascinated, I sat at a table opposite the exhibit and wrote them this poem.
A JAR OF MOLES
Amongst the racks of skeletons, the glass-cased arthropods, the frozen flights of butterflies, the stalking bear, a jar of moles.
Like a pickled audience, they float, hands in mid-applause, their mute approval a thing of palms and fingers, viscous suspension hiding faces,
lumping bodies into a mass of saturated velvet. The brown bear straddles a staircase, permanently spooked. A rhino, all bleached
scaffolding behind a lowering skull, shambles permanently west. Even the pinioned butterflies have dignity,
a sort of poise, stabbed in their abundance against an artificial sky. The moles just hang in alcohol, their stack of hands
not pressing air or palm to palm, but reaching out like engineers towards the blind remembered soil.
I'm a post-retirement Drama teacher, currently working part-time. I have a grown-up son and daughter, three grandchildren and three young children from my second marriage. I write - principally poetry but prose too, both fitfully published. My poetry collection Ancient Lights is published by Phoenicia Publishing (www.phoeniciapublishing.com) and my translation of Blaise Cendrars' 'Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France' (illustrated by my friend, the artist, writer and long-time blogger Natalie d'Arbeloff) is published by Old Stile Press (www.oldstilepress.com).
I play bass guitar & bouzouki in the song-based acoustic/electric trio Moorby Jones, playing entirely original material.
I have a dormant blog with posts going back to 2004 at Dick Jones' Patteran Pages - http://patteran.typepad.com - and I'm a radio ham. My callsign is G0EUV
Perfect. I too was moved by that jar of moles, but wasn’t able to capture it adequately in a snapshot, let alone a poem. Such a brilliant museum.
Thanks, Dave. So glad you checked out the museum too.