Pesilence and Pandemic in Rural Australia

There has been steep rise in mouse numbers recently. My cats bring them in dead and alive, so I have had to block off the cat entrance and leave them out at night. They are not happy about this arrangement, as they are house cats (felis silvestris catus) during the day and by night they are hunting bush cats (felis venatio catus). My little cat was bringing in live mice at 2.00 a.m. and chasing them around the loungeroom, so I had to put a stop to it just so I could sleep.

There was a plague out here in the Boondocks about a decade ago when I was living in Yoogali with a stray cat, Tom Tom, who’d adopted me. You appreciate cats more during rodent infestations, and now I have two feline killing machines to deal with the mice. The current mouse plague has already overrun Coonamble, 450 km north of Coolamon, where I now reside, causing massive destruction to the crops. Conditions are perfect for a repeat of the 2011 plague and farming communities across eastern Australia are bracing themselves.

The classical music station has been playing an inordanant amount of so-called romantic music in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, which is too predictable, and besides, I don’t celebrate St. Valentine’s Day anymore. Alright, I admit that I baked a cake and iced a heart on it last year for a woman I was mildly infatuated with, but I was working at a bakery at the time. I know, how predictable! Nothing came of it, of course. I mean, who would be silly enough to fall in love with an impoverished, nihilistic, romantic poet? It’s both rhetorical and paradoxical. Besides, maybe I am too old to fall in love again.

Come to think of it, I recall that I was mildly and briefly with a woman who visited me at the Yoogali shack I used to live in, who met Tom Tom when he was young and cute. Oh course it didn’t work out, but that’s another story. Maybe there is hope for me yet and the signs augur well — another mouse plague, another cute cat and a woman living interstate is planning to visit me when the pandemic allows cross border travel. Alas, she doesn’t believe in love, but you can’t have everything, especially in a time of plague and pandemic. Besides, St. Valentine was beaten to death and beheaded on the 14th of February 270 CE, during the reign of the cruel emperor, Claudius II. So, the obvious lesson is: don’t lose your head for love, or as the Romans put it — Noli amare decapitari.

Poet and writer in rural Australia. Don't let the bastards get you down.