• Callum Holgate

My Friend The Rat

O2 Guildhall Southampton, the genesis of my journey today.

So for my first uploaded poem, and the first accompanying blog, I thought I would upload one I had written earlier today. I wrote this during an experience I had and now intend on making a regular thing.

I often get annoyed at myself for not experiencing the outside world, and certainly I have not taken the time since coming to Uni to appreciate the new city I find myself in. Well today, on the first day of Easter break, and the only day this week where I’m not working an 8-Hour shift at work, I decided I would go out to skate through Southampton.

I started my day by simply sitting in the warm morning sun outside the guildhall; a building I pass daily on my way to work, and have seen a good few concerts in, but never taken the chance to really appreciate the building itself, and the courtyard surrounding it, and while I’ve seen countless other skaters in the courtyard every time I pass, I never took the time to skate there myself, until today. While I definitely made a fool of myself in front of two police officers as I fell pretty hard on the concrete right in front of them, I would rate the experience highly.

Regardless, when I had finished skating, I walked back home along the path through the park, and there I saw a woman just laying there on the grass, and thought to myself, “I’ve been here since September, and not once just sat here and enjoyed this park.” Given that I’ve been one of my “I must write more poems” kicks recently, I thought it would provide the perfect backdrop to some writing.

Fast forward a few hours, and I find myself sat against a tree in the park, Kebab in hand, and podcast in my ears for a good hour or so before I attempted any writing, and to be perfectly honest, even that in itself was quite a nice experience. When I then tried to force out some kind of poem with a few topics I’ve had in mind for a while, I experienced a sudden bout of writers block, which for twenty or thirty minutes was rather annoying, and led to me just sitting there, and observing the early-evening clamour of a Southampton Park.

That’s when I saw him. Rifling around in a bush was one of Southampton’s many, many rats. Now I’ve seen numerous rats since moving to Southampton. especially walking home from work late at night, however to see one in the daylight, so close to me, was admittedly, a strange experience, and weirdly I was transfixed on the little rodent and his odd mannerisms. This led me to thinking about my perception of rats, and how people shun them for being disgusting creatures. Admittedly, I have felt the same since moving here, but this rat seemed interesting to me; out here in the light, in what I can only assume was his habitat.

With this rat’s appearance, my writers block was almost immediately lifted, and within 15 minutes, I had penciled my first nature poem, albeit about a little rat running past me. I’m not one to just write poems about my observations, and it was an interesting travel out from my comfort zone, but surprisingly, I found that the words, rhyme scheme and general tone of the poem sort of came quite naturally, much as my more confessional poems do.

I guess if I were to summarise my experience today, I would say it was certainly perspective-changing. It was strange for me to be alone, outside, without listening to music or watching a video, even if it was only for about an hour. It was certainly refreshing, and I look forward to whenever I will get my next chance to get out there and just observe.

#blog #poetry #writing #southampton #nature #animals

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