The Farm Supplies shop-owner, short and hale
and dignified, whose business runs
lower and lower, whose white beard remains
nice trimmed, and whose sports jacket is still
the voice of The Country, his silence burst
in upon for a humble bag of birdseed,
spilt the entire sack in a corner of the dingy
neat cluttered shop-hut and heaved an ‘Oh Shavings!’.
The cry resounded quite insufficient
for this cruel event. Shavings is what
hamsters neglected in their cage sometimes eat.
It constipates them, ejects their wronged
pink stomach behind like a slow-down parachute
and does for them. So the cry did sort
of express it, the dry-eyed shop owner’s
small-world noble and constipated despair?