Carolyn's children's guinea pig, Straw, went the way of his illustrious predecessors last Tuesday. They buried him next to his brothers under the cat's whisker plant—which was in pretty poor taste, if you ask me.

Straw's demise moved Carolyn's elder daughter, Hazel, to verse. I won't quote the two poems she wrote here, as they were rather personal and intense. I couldn't believe they were written by such a young girl.

Reflecting on it the next day, I thought that maybe I should try to write my own poetic tribute to Straw. So I did. I texted the result to Carolyn:

A grave they had to dig
For their lamented guinea pig.
Who on Earth knows when
They will meet his like again?

No reply. I decided Carolyn couldn't have been too impressed, so I sent her another:

The pathos was potent
As they buried their rodent.

Dig that alliteration. And the assonance of potent and rodent is so totally heavy. I've still got what it takes!

Still no reply, so I tried another:

Poor Straw is no more:
He's as stiff as the kitchen door.
Why, oh, why did he have to die,
And go to the Great Treadmill in the Sky?

After which, I gave up, having decided that Carolyn was ignoring me, and that five poems were quite enough for one stupid guinea pig.

The following evening, I noticed that Carolyn was online, so we had the following chat:

R: Hello.
C: Hello hello
R: Did you get my poems yesterday? I was quite pleased with them!
C: Yes we did. Very good but Hazel wants you to know that poems don't have to rhyme!
How old is Hazel, by the way?
C: 10
R: Good grief!
… And she's lecturing me on poetry already!
By the way, I'm not seeing Fitz after all on Tuesday evening, so I'm available for cups of tea, if you're at all interested.
C: well I've promised to go dancing as I missed it this week because of the guinea pig.
R: You've no idea how special that makes me feel… You'll miss dancing for a guinea pig, but not for me!

I guess that put me in my place.

See also: Some of my other Songs & Poems

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.

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