• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 05


It was supposed to be the centre-piece.
Instead, drunk on sumptuous abundance,
It had metamorphosed into a sentry,
A guardian with sharp claws
That made a clackety-clack,
And changed it from a target for elite consumption
Into something altogether more sinister.
A snap had stopped the monkey in its tracks.
It had settled for a spilled basket of fruit,
Grudgingly – no substitute for a leg of roast boar.
Even though noble Lords and Ladies had had their fill,
The lobster was determined no common folk
Would get more than a bruised apple, grape or fig –
Not on its watch, not whilst its claws were intact.

The fact of the matter has not escaped the hound.
It has always been happy to just accept crumbs
That have fallen from its master’s table,
But it too could play the part of watchman for a while.
It had bribed the shellfish to poison the wine.
It was now just a question of watching and waiting
Until the snoring and rising and falling
Of swollen bellies had stopped.