The Year of the Rhino
Theatres are closed, we’re idle,
we watch as he tramps down the high street
surrounded by cartoon characters,
wanting amusement to fill their evening.
He gathers the saints, the poets, the tea-leaves,
his thunderous hoof-beats bring toddlers to windows
to lie to their parents about seeing a rhino
on four stocky apocalyptic legs.
Fountains spray Lucozade, gardens grow walnuts
thoughtless birds hobble on spindly legs with hunched vulture shoulders
an old man capers and drops his trousers,
a fisherman casts his fly and catches the last known worm on the block
because these are the hard times, this is how low we have sunk,
but we are possessed of a staircase wit –
we’ll climb to the top of the world Ma,
we’ll follow the piper’s cacophony with agonised songs in our hearts,
we know love..
The rhino stops
We gather together,
he clambers onto a soapbox,
someone hands him a megaphone.
Comrades! he shouts
and the cheer goes up and we hear no more
we’re dancing, dancing, dancing in darkness with excess of light.
We’re the girls in gangs, the youngest Mohicans,
we’re anthills, we’re dung, we’re moai, we’re maidens.
This is the day we challenge the masters
with hazard, with riot, with hope.
Catherine Edmunds reinvented herself as a writer and artist after twenty years as a musician. Works include poetry, stories and novels. 2015 will see publication of a wartime biography and a collaborative novel set in 1920s Ireland. http://www.freewebs.com/catherineedmunds/