How to age a rabbit

This poem was submitted to International poetry magazine Other Poetry, where it caught the editors’ attention.  They declared the poem worthy of publication, but asked me to electronically ‘workshop’ it with poet/editor Peter Armstrong to see if the latter part of the poem could be tuned to match the strength of the opening stanza.  Peter and I were disappointed when the exercise came to an end, it was a stimulating and enjoyable experience.  Other Poetry not only published the final version of the poem in their November 2012 issue, they also showed all the workshop correspondence and revisions.   They have approved that selection to be shown on this website, CLICK HERE to see the full correspondence that resulted in the poem below.


Image by courtesy of Meemalee



He always breathed with a nasal drone
wet lips stroking a Woodbine
as he eviscerated game
a failed feint to distract his nose
from the glistening raunch of guts,
the thick stench if a stomach burst
and the half-digested last meal
oozed darkly onto newsprint.

I never saw where
the penknife cut the fur,
he always turned away,
but the sucking tear
the shining inner skin
as the pelt peeled off
was immediate magic;
clots tattooed his arms
as he embraced it.

Perhaps it was a hope of hardening
that made him hand me
the slippery parcel
that dropped with heavy softness

The ears of a young rabbit will tear easily,
older rabbits are understandably tougher.

(Ballymaloe Cookery Course- by Darina Allen)


You can reach the Other Poetry website at

Back to Top