This picture is of the lawn-damage my current cleverclogs mole is making – not going underground to erupt in mounds of dirt, which is the norm and thus making it easy to place traps to catch and kill, but rather skimming just beneath the grass and causing these random lines of damage without my being able to track or find any spot with a depth where a trap can be set:
The little bastard. I have written about my decades’ old battle with moles and posted about this here and here as well as this haiku about the last mole I caught and killed here. And I have no compunction about getting rid of these creatures because of the extraordinary damage a single one can cause, an aspect I have explored in my ruminating but cathartic poems because I do not normally or easily kill animals.
I think the poems are cathartic…
Mole Au Fait
This new mole is a submarine, a few slight mounds
breaking through the grass-arched tunnels like failed
periscopes, no holes in these with a depth to set my
traps which have caught and finished the others. A wise,
wily skimmer. I could walk for hours along its winding
protrusions and still not lay the lawn back to its flatter
unevenness from that damage of years ago – and those
poems about give and take, growing older, life and death.
There’s no philosophy in this, but a seeming evolution of
tactic just as I had learned a new skill for slaying, and it’s
the taunting that angers me now the most: ribbed routes
plotting its underground joyrides that I never catch live in
the calculated journeys of insult. I wish I’d made my
gibbet years ago for a killer’s visible if mummified wins.
NB I don’t know if it is a well-known term: the ‘gibbet’ in my poem alludes to a keeper’s gibbet. On the large Suffolk farm where I worked many years ago, the gamekeeper was responsible obviously for raising and managing game-birds for their annual slaughter [I do think this is quite different to a mole invading my garden] but he also had to control the vermin on the farm. To demonstrate he was doing his job, the gamekeeper followed the tradition of hanging dead vermin from a tree where employers/owners could see evidence of his work being done.