Qualm

I found a momentary qualm,
shivering, almost stillborn.

Rescued, dressed in a light blanket,
I found it was mine entirely.
I'd never had qualms before.

An outcast from a posse of qualms,
it had wandered the nervous air,
searching for somewhere or someone.
I'd stumbled upon it, ransacking
my landscape for serious purpose.
I had buried the purpose recently:
in a tummock. It was nowhere, I
came home with the qualm instead.

Slowly it prospered, it shook
the dust of indecision from its fins.
It grew to a brute of a scruple.
Resting on my right side,
its armoured shell seemed to nuzzle
the blood in my blue-grey veins.

Muscular, it became an ethos
with the strength of twenty.
I rode with it, razing
the keeps and the brick citadels.
I moved mountains with shovels,
laid the weeds in the pasture to waste.

One day, bulging as usual,
my ethos tripped and cracked, badly.
Shards of shell. Feathers. And the cry
cowering within it.

It had fathered a fresh qualm,
momentary, the spit of its dead self.

The veins were still visible,
palpitating in its pale blue chest.

I adopted it instantly.

From the book Robinson Crusoe's Bank Holiday Monday