wordsout by godfrey rust


We don't know the planet
the monster came from, only that

it is here now and cannot return.
The keepers are not sure if it is harmful.

It is like a chameleon or a spaceman
(it has pointed ears—perhaps it was on Star Trek).

They prod it to make sure it's still alive.
The monster stirs. Its face

is nearly recognisable. The keepers feed it
as much as they are able, and sometimes

the monster seems to humour them until
they almost think it may be tamed—but then

the monster roars and will not be consoled.
The keepers watch it, knowing now

they cannot penetrate its private grief,
and fear the wordless rage that tortures it. At night

it is kept behind bars for its own protection.
They try to make it comfortable.

The monster smiles. The keepers both relax,
rocking it into a milky sleep.

Godfrey Rust 1986, godfrey@wordsout.co.uk. See here for permissions.