Seventy years with me arse in the breeze
That blows up from the Levels nine days out of ten,
Endlessly suckling these lads at my knees,
And dreaming of Rome, where it’s warmer; but then
I’ve grown fond of these hills where the grass is so green
(when it isn’t obscured by the mist and the snow)
And the sheep are so plump, that I’m really quite keen
To jump down from me plinth here and give them a go.
And all that I ask is a night that is moonlit,
The farmers all snug in the Hunters Lodge Inn,
Some kind random person who’s willing to cub-sit
-and the Mendips’ Last Wolf will go wild once agin.
Up on the Mendips is this statue of the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, in a similar style to that one in the Museo Capitolino in Rome. This version was created by Gaetano Celestra, an Italian prisoner of war who was engaged in repairing bomb damage in the district during the Second World War. This was his gift to an area he'd come to appreciate.
This poem was inspired by a prompt from David Morley, who guested on Jo Bell's 52 this week; "Choose an animal. Observe it as closely as possible in the wild or a zoo or aviary. Then become it. See it and live it. Look at it, touch it, smell it, listen to it, turn yourself to it."
By the way, the title is a nod to Kipling's Roman Centurion's Song....