Strange Squeaking

Published on . Updated on .
Tags: poetry
I stepped outside to take the air, but stopped short when I heard
A squeaking cry, as issues from a wounded, bleeding bird—
Or rather, from no bird at all, but from an injured bat;
The wingéd mouse, the flying shrew, the aviating rat.

The sound came from the corner of the garden, past the gate.
I went inside to fetch my coat—we've had a chill of late.
Beraimented, I crept along. The batlike wail grew near.
On garden path I crept, until the screeching filled my ear.

And ... what found I? A broken bird? A bat, brought down to ground?
'Twas neither thing that drew me there by way of eerie sound.
I took a knee to do some work. The squeaking went away.
No longer will that broken sprinkler keen like dying prey!

2020-07-24: Only five months after writing this poem did I learn that shrews are in one order of animals, bats in another, and mice and rats in a third. I love line 4, but if I can change it to match biology, I will. In the meantime, please don’t base any scientific research on this poem.