Waking up the neighbours

Some new folks just moved in next door.
I don’t where they lived before:
Out in the backwoods, I’d surmise;
Secluded, far from prying eyes.
They took up station in our street
Two weeks ago. We’ve yet to meet
Them; we’ve seen neither hide nor hair
Of them; it seems they’ve never there
In daylight. No, it’s only when
The sun’s long gone they rise, and then
They whoop it up: they party long
And loud; just sing the same damn song
For hours; a sombre, one-note tune
Of desperate death beneath the moon
That echoes and conspires to keep
Three dozen decent folk from sleep.
But you’ll near no complaints from me
About their midnight revelry.
Their presence is a gleaming knife
That cuts through this suburban life
And speaks to me of wilder ways,
Of freer times and long-lost days.
I stand and listen, wish that I
Were with them, under that dark sky,
Our senses sharpened, blood on fire,
Like prisoners outside the wire.
I know I’ll never shake their hand
Enter their world, or understand
Their secret life, but still, it’s good
To have them in the neighbourhood.


First nature poem for a while. On a couple of nights lately, we’ve listened to tawny owls hooting in the trees across the street: a reminder that, even in the congested south-east of England, the Wild isn’t far away. And we’re all the better for that. N.