Posted by: John Looker | 31 March, 2013

THE HUNT IN THE FOREST

TRIBAL LOYALTIES

2. The Hunt in the Forest

Spellbound at night, the forest groans and sighs;
trees change in shape and paths desert their stations
under darkness; but day reclaims the skies,
the greenwood shakes itself and all the nations
of birds sing in elation.

Soon along a broad ride will come the hounds
sniffing, yelping; the drumroll of fine horses;
noblemen with lances, whooping; and sounds
of horns (carved in ivory from distant sources)
as the glittering court rejoices.

These, all these, are possessions of the king :
the stag breaking startled from cover; the boar;
trout in the brimming streams; each living thing,
to the wood growing on the trees; and more –
truffles in the forest floor.

But wait. Soundlessly, downwind of the pack,
in thickets where the sunlight rarely lands,
with coarse and undyed linen on his back,
a man, unwashed, unfed, and watchful stands –
a hare, still warm, in his hands. 

© John Stevens 2013

This is the second of three complementary poems. Together, in “Tribal Loyalties”, they take their place as the third section in the series Looking at Life Through Work.

The three poems are best read together and I have turned off  ’Comments’ until the third is posted, to spare those readers and friends who kindly comment regularly from feeling they owe me any reactions until the end.

This group of three poems is darker than those in sections 1 and 2 – a deliberate contrast.

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