Stripy Jerseys

There were a lot of ragwort plants

around the library.

Some were bare of leaves and covered

with orange and black stripy jersey caterpillars.

Others were lush and green with leaves

and devoid of caterpillars.

As usual the family planning strategy

of the cinnabar moth

left much to be desired.

I began to transfer them carefully

from the leafless to the lush.

I stood back to admire my achievement,

momentarily disconcerted

when a rather stern looking stranger

asked what I was doing.

I explained.

“Huh”, she said,

“I’ve been doing the same over the other side.

I though it was only me who does this.”

It was a strange way to begin a friendship

but it lasted

all her life.

I think maybe I should go to the grave

in the woodland,

where her body lies

and scatter a few ragwort seeds.

Maybe the moths will come

each year

and make 

a living memorial.

She would like that,

I think.

For Sally Hawkin


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