The otter

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The story is she lives alone
When young
A mostly solitary life
Of fish and voles, of coots and eels

At night a suitor wades ashore
A sleek young fellow keen to flaunt
His moonlit coat and twitching nose
She drives him off with snarls and claws

And when by day the reek of human
Wafts along the bank
Or loathsome snuffling of unwelcome dog
Penetrates the sedge

"She slips silently into the water" (it says here in the picture book)
And as if was never there, is gone

One evening a river vagrant plashes by
An unkempt veteran somewhat scarred
And warmed by curiosity she grants him licence
To hustle through the tall grass in her wake

She snarls and scampers
Until he wearies of her game and schlepps back to the water's edge
Where she appears again and now they caper
In and out of the dark current and then they mate

And after when he's gone
"She slips silently into the water"

Two cubs are born she's dug a holt
And while she's in confinement he brings her fish
But then before their eyes are even open he's gone
Retrieved his hat and paddled off this time for good

She feeds them rears them
Teaches them to swim and hunt until one day
They too are gone, ardent for adventure
And bored by now of mother's cooling ways

We turn the page and see her older, wiser
She lives alone once more
A mostly solitary life
Of fish and voles, and coots and eels

And when the world noses in too close
"She slips silently into the water"
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