November 18, 2019

Why did you kill this?

Erica Hume Niven, 48

When you live in a rural area road-kill is, unfortunately, a common sight at the side of or on the middle of the road. However, I am confident that the gratuitous slaughtering of beasts on the road could be avoided more often – it makes me feel ill. They drive too fast, they do not focus properly and they are completely self-absorbed in their materialistic world. The morning I wrote this I had just sat down at my desk to start work – I was compelled to write this poem first. Also on my journey to work recently, I heard that dogs are no longer considered as thinking animals, so there is no need to report it if you run them down: that also makes me choke with temper. It was not a dog that gaped at me from the side of the road but it’s face will be an effigy for all innocent beasts.

Poetry is a genre of writing that I have used since I was child; I had to write, it was as if I did not have a choice, I had to.  For me, the process of writing down the words that were appearing in my mind was a necessary part of dealing with my emotions. I rarely showed anyone my poems, apart from my immediate family. As an adult, having to write in so many different genres from reports, to formal letters, to emails and community facebook pages – poetry seems so rare and precious and yet it is the one written genre that is both immediate and timeless. It is not as ethereal as the many forms of social media. Poetry can capture a moment in time in the same way that a photo or a painting can, and the reader will often interpret it from their own personal references.

The Journey to Work, 2019