Frank Ian Bowen

Rookie (23 May 1952 / Portsmouth, England)

Life, Times And... - Poem by Frank Ian Bowen

Born by your Mum in a hot, dark space; discovered in hiding by an enormous white face,
your sisters and brother were black just like you and you squirmed and you struggled to get a clear view
of a nipple to suckle, to drink down Mum’s milk to fill out your tummy, and snuggled in silk
you slept and you mewed wrapped up in your fur; you gamboled and played, your siblings a blur.
You grew very quickly, safe in that room ‘til a German Shepherd entered with doom
in its eyes and its instincts, attacking you all, the sounds were just terrible, you were all just so small.
Your brother was killed, and one sister too, a desperate scene when discovered and viewed.
Your Mum the protector took you in her mouth, left previous safety and headed due south,
returning quite shortly for the sibling still there, she looked at us then, with a pitiful stare;
then left at a trot with your sister hung loose; We’d tried to protect you, but were of no use.
Days went to weeks, and weeks into months, no sign of you, in our throats there were lumps.
And then 3 months later, on the doorstep we found, a bedraggled black kitten, spread on the ground.
Is it dead? We thought, as no movement was seen. It was you we realised, but where had you been?
What had happened? No matter! Pick her up and take care. Why can’t you walk? Are you hurt? Just a blank stare.
Oh dear Lord, you’re so weak from hunger and thirst. Vet, food or water. What must come first?
A few drops of water we managed to get in. Called the vet, made a meeting, didn’t look like a win.
A bite to your throat was the problem now found, couldn’t swallow, infected, and barely a sound
came from your poor little body, as injection went in, the recovery battle was now to begin.
Within days you improved, and ate like a horse, drank like a fish, and started to play like a kitten of course.
Twice from death’s door you’d escaped with your life, we took you right in to reduce feral strife.
We named you ‘Lucky’, ‘cos that’s what you’d been, you’d chosen us upon which to lean.
Suspicious at first, defensive of course, a wee feral kitty with ‘attitude’, source
of such pleasure and laughter and emotional joy, as you slid on the tiles and played with your toys.
The house was now yours, or so it now seemed, territory guarded ‘gainst all feral mogs who teemed
at the doors to be fed and watered each day, as you hissed and spat and ran and played.
And then arrived ‘Holly’ as bold as you like, walked in one Christmas; a right little tyke
Another young kitten who chose us as hosts, and the battles now started, o’er pillars and posts.
We nicknamed you ‘thug’ and ‘terrorist’ too, so cunning a stalker of Holly were you.
You filled out a plenty, solid muscle it seemed, adopted the sofa backs, all visitors screened
from sentry post positions, wide eyed you’d stare, even the landlord came in and was scared
Roughs and tumbles occurred reg’larly, fur bits, claw shells, poor Holly just wee’d
The months went to years, and you both chose to stay, a truce declared at times I would say,
Still brutal fights at day and at night, we had to separate both – put one out of sight
in a bedroom one of you’d go every eve’, the other would strut and around legs would weave
as if victory declared, up stairs fur was sped, a flying leap right on to the bed
‘tis mine, ‘tis mine the look would say, get me off if you can or stroke me, I’ll stay
A night cage was built, with wire in between, exposure at night to each would be seen
That’ll calm them we thought, they’ll like each other soon, not a bit of it, just more doom
One would come out and fly at the other, while inside the cage the second would cower
We persevered for a year or more, and then gave it up to love you both more
And slowly, so slowly, you both calmed right down, a kind of a peace arrived in the town
You would take downstairs, patrolling for ‘guests’, Holly upstairs building her nest
She would go outside, take the sun ‘cos she must, you would flit outside and roll in the dust
Then scamper back in as soon as you could, patrol for outsiders just ‘cos you should
But then your nature started to change, no more the feral, the affection quite ‘strange’,
Licking my hair from your sentry post role, clawing the sofa to get at the ball
you’d seen roll there an hour ago, then just flopping right down for a minute or so
This character cat, all muscle and bone, had stolen our hearts when she entered out home
You’d become a part of our lives don’t you see? Right in our hearts, both Caro and me.
You’d a character displayed like a naughty young child. “I want attention” and then just go wild.
If we ate a meal, you wanted treats too, jumped on the table ‘til a cat-treat was threw
Into the air and onto the floor, you’d race for the target and out came the claws,
which on tiles never did grip very well, as you slid and you slithered, rolled over as well.
It wasn’t the treat that you wanted at all, just love and affection, and sometimes a ball
to chase round the house and lose just as quick, or jump in the air as with paw you did flick.
Right deep inside you’ve buried yourself, in our hearts, in our minds and our innermost self,
Then three nights ago you went on outside, unusual for you as you like it inside
Where its cool, and comfortable, soft and safe. You haven’t come back, and we’re in such a state.
Searched all around, high, low, underneath, no sign have we found, now we’re in grief.
A desperate feeling of loss deep inside, of fear for your safety, of dread that you’ve died.
Much worse is the thought that you’ve suffered pain, are wounded, dying just where you’ve lain
We’re helpless and useless, depressed and alone, Lucky, oh Lucky, please do come home
Our tears just keep coming on every thought, reminders abound, emotions are wrought
Come home please ‘Lucky’, to those who do love, who are wracked by emotions, come home and be loved.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, May 14, 2011

Poem Edited: Saturday, May 14, 2011

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