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The Night-time builders

Elaine O'Shannessy




Written after moving into a new house where possums ran olympics across and in the roof all night.

This was read at the 2019 "Reading or Writing Event"



It is after midnight when she wakes

And hears the sounds her new house makes.



Thank goodness, she’s the sturdy type

Who can ignore nocturnal tripe.


Not creaking wall, nor groaning roof

Not knocking pipe, but possum’s hoof


Oh yes, indeed, it is not news 

That possums nightly don their shoes


And build their homes, with expert ease

Within the roof, not in the trees


They clump about with nails and hammer

“Look out there, don’t drop that spanner!”


They’ll work tonight and every night 

You’d think by now they’d get it right


But, oh dear me, these plans are wrong

Why does construction take so long?



So back and forth they nightly scurry

Always in a frantic hurry


As though this night’s the only chance

They have their dwellings to enhance.


But as the day begins to dawn

They pick up tools and homeward yawn


To tree holes dark and safe and snug

To dream of strong foundations dug


Yet when the sun is on the wane

The nightly shift will start again


Dear possums, get it through your heads

That trees, for you, make better beds


And leave mankind on pillows deep 

To spend its nights in peaceful sleep.




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