Photo by Pixabay on

Otter ( lutra lutra)

Soft vowels  in their name implies

a life near flowing water,

clear as glass with green weed streaming.

You only see where they have been –

some fish scales scattered on the bank,

the wreckage of a broken gull –

not where they are.

Fifteen miles is nothing in a night –

upstream steadily against the flow

then branching off down becks and brooks –

silent, they leave nothing

but paw prints in the soft earth.

It’s said that they can purr like cats,

feign birdsong, lure sparrows from the trees

then crack their bones with needle teeth.

Unafraid, they lounge

by the fishpond

chew carp, still twitching in their jaws,

then melt into the shadows,

the black waters,

make no more noise

than the rippling of their name

You only see where they have been –

Funeral Music

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