Thomas Hoskyns Leonard
Dedicated to Lindsay Oliver, McGinty, and his Cat
Roto was named after Rod and me,
A loveable mongrel was he,
Though more appealing to Rod than to me
When a car snapped his hind leg, Roto was put down,
And Rod pined for ages
Only recovering in stages,
While my empathy contrived barely an odd frown,
Meanwhile, Dad and Uncle Les,
While suffering from no obvious malaise,
Discovered a litter of wild cats
High up in the slats
In a loft at old Membland,
Derelict in nature's heartland,
Once the home of Lord Revelstoke,
Who went utterly broke and then croaked.
Before the kittens could sneak out and roam,
They brought two of them home,
From high above Newton Creek,
One for us and one for the Edgies,
Together with a bagful of teddy wedgies,
Our pussy we called True;
Why? I don't have a clue.
But soon she became relatively tame
And began to enjoy the family game,
Fawning up to Roto,
And treating him like a gigolo,
While harrowing the sparrows,
Splicing the mice into lice,
And sucking up to we humans; how nice!
I'd have loved a rabbit to grab at,
But Mummy bought a guinea pig instead,
And so to Jimmy I was wed,
A hutch and a run we made him,
I collected weeds from the back lane to feed his whim,
And life was suddenly so wonderful again.
But then, Jimmy turned thinner and thinner,
As if he'd ne'er eaten his dinner
And looking ever more loser than winner,
One day, Mum and Rod were moving his hutch and run
To a better patch on the grass,
When they discovered a smoking gun,
Who'd been squatting there on its rodentine arse,
Great jumping jabberwockies;
Huge leaping giddersockies!
Out leapt a big fat rat
Almost as fat as a bovine cat!
It'd been starving poor Jimmy of his weeds
And depriving him of his basic needs,
A scenario which still makes my heart bleed,
But shorn of the sneaky rat, Jimmy soon himself became a fat cat;
So happy was life after that!
When I was ten, Rod and I began to breed mice,
With slinky Liz from next door,
And that wasn't always nice,
Particularly when Thomasina turned into a whore,
And off to the Moor Rod did go,
To capture slow worms from under stones
And to collect sheeps' bones
In full flow.
T'worms he in our back garden let loose
And soon they were frightening neighbours and the mad goose,
But Rod always was a touch footloose,
When Molly the border collie from Noss Mayo came,
Scarcely could we envision the name of the game.
True took one look at her, somersaulted through the window,
And when Welsh Molly was on heat,
The hound dogs o'er Miss Windy Crock's garden would leap
And bitch fights between that bat and Mummy ensued,
Which were so funny that they cannot be rued,
One day Rex Rover the Alsatian-Labrador took his turn,
And he certainly made poor Molly squirm!
In he stayed stuck
And Molly got well and truly fucked.
Granddad rushed out with a bucket of water,
But wasn't able to stop the slaughter,
And for noise we received no quarter,
Soon after Mummy slipped a disc,
And was put wailing into a cast,
Which put her innards at risk,
Eight noisy puppies arrived thick and fast,
And the house became full of noises so shrill,
That Granny and Granddad Grinkoff moaned their heads off
And lay in their bed looking fit for the kill.
But the nice lady who'd sold us Molly came and took puppies away,
And Mummy was able to survive until another day;
And Molly survived until she put Mummy on the bleep,
At which time Daddy had her put to sleep,
With the help of a vet, of course, not sweet Dr. Sweet.
That pissed off Rod, what Daddy did to his Molly
Even for Devon, it wasn't, of course, very jolly.