It was between the tracks,
One myxomatosic eye closed to the world.
Then it stuttered to a breath,
Then another, as in sleep,
And the mystery arose of why it slept there.
It did not give the nightmare scream
Of a rabbit wracked with pain,
Instead in ghoulish stillness lay,
But for its breathing.
Perhaps it slept there to enjoy the morning sun,
I hoped so, for there,
Between the tracks, before the train,
I could but watch this creature’s fate,
With its brain to be scattered on the rail.
Still it slept, this macabre beast,
No wound upon its upper side,
Except for its puffed-up plague-rotten eye,
A scar from when the state warred ‘gainst its own nature,
To no avail,
But to spread the state of pain to warren and field,
Far beneath the precious grain.
And now the train approached, the rails hissed,
Ps-SHH-sh, ps-SHH-sh, ps-SHH,
And with that, the miserable beast awoke,
Spasming between the rails, one front leg broken,
Unable to push itself up to flee,
Bob-tail frantic, terrified and trapped,
Then collapsing to fate, trying again and failing,
As the train rolled over it, that poor half-dead rabbit,
And my gutrot fear was rancourous,
And I saw it quivering beneath the train,
Untouched, but surely petrified,
And though I will not see it more,
I know that there the rabbit died.
I feel this poem requires some explanation. It describes a true incident at a rural railway station near my home. Having been raised in the countryside, but maintaining a rather cosmopolitan liberal view on life, I both hate rabbits as a pest and despise the unnecessary cruelty to an animal represented by myxomatosis. No, I do not mind that another rabbit died, but to die in such a manner is horrific, and as such my feelings are expressed in this poem.
The Hapless Neo-Romantic