Sunday, June 2, 2013

Tuesday Poem - Metamorphosis by Paul South


I am the rat these days, inspecting this, having a nibble of that.
Disguised as a human, I go to work.
“How are you?” says my boss.
“Fine,” I say.
I have learned the turns of speech, digested talk of news, sport and
weather. Rats have strong stomachs and are very adaptable. But a rat
never forgets his place in the food-chain. The hand that feeds can also kill.

Sometimes I step into a trap. My boss's huge face looms around
the corner, says “What are you doing?” and I'm caught there in the
spotlight, a crumb still hanging from my mouth. I try to speak, but all
that comes out is a muffled squeak! My body goes limp, as if dead -
I think I am dead – then after a while she goes off again.

Then I go home, to the dark little corner of my world. It's nothing special,
but it's my dark corner, and I am quite happy with it thank you! But even
then my mind plays tricks on me; I hear things, a footstep, a word. I am
never really alone: I'm always being chased by things that I cannot see or
name. And there is no hiding from the fact that, sooner or later, I will have
to go out there again, into the open. I have to if I am going to survive.

My poor heart! I scurry about right under their noses, filling shelves,
collecting trolleys. This check out chick keeps checking me out. I squeak
a few words. I don't know what to do. I keep thinking, they'll see me -
they'll see the light reflect off my eyes and know me for what I am.
But they never do.

Time moves on. I get so caught up in what I am doing that I forget what
I am, and then I find myself being patted by somebody. I look up and
wonder how it is that I am here, that I am not afraid, here in the palm of
a human's hand.

Paul South lives in Melbourne and I have heard him read from his 'wise
and brutal' book (as Andy Jackson puts it in his blurb) – Rats Live On
No Evil Star. Lovely stuff, juicy.
You can pick up the book (a wise but not brutal investment) at a few shops
in Melbourne,like Collected Works – and there is an email address in the
front of the book so I suppose that would work too.

If you want to read more Tuesday Poems click on the quill icon at the top of the page.


  1. I thought it whimsical and charming. Thanks for sharing.

  2. It is whimsical - and kinda dark, too. Like it!

  3. a collage of ideas! liked!