English poetry

Poems in English

The Hunt

The hunt begins at a languid pace
Belying hysteria building in place, biding its time
To menace the peace in an orchard where mayhem’s
Scant held on a leash. Abigail Belle’s the first into line,
Although not their leader, her nose to the ground
She’s checking for markers down leafy green rows,
Round tree studded mounds, old Scud on the bound,
With Benson in tow. Nickki, the mother,
Cleopatra by name, sniffs deftly around in her
Chosen domain, disdaining this gang so bold
To the fore, deploring their brashness, all the more
Pensive than old, – though her ear is pitched
For an unshakeable call. She’s Alpha bitch and rules
In the yard with fierce intent but the orchard outside
Is Abbey’s to claim, her own natural bent, which
She hunts with affection and generates such fun
The others will follow the much younger one – a Beta bitch
And no slouch on the run. The boys meander
Along in her wake hoping she’ll flush some quarry
To chase, its practical sense ’cause she’s taller than they
And fleeter of foot with the chase underway; while
Small dogs compete with grit and delight
Size has its advantages when hard in pursuit.
‘The Hoary Old Hare’ is in Abbey’s sights,
Or at least in thought though not yet to rights
As she hasn’t sighted the old thumper yet
And he’s not jumped from the set he took on them wallowing
Through windrows around him incessantly quarrelling.
His fear is the accident of one of them finding
His scent or blundering blind where he’s hiding
But he’s class and bides his time to the last,
Then breaks out of cover and frantically runs.
The fun’s just begun, the yipping resounds
And echoes between the leafy tree mounds,
Even Nickki the matriarch cocks up her ears
And joins in the chase though way to the rear,
But her pace is refined not manic or wild.
They follow his spoor in lively style
And I know they don’t see him, he runs
Like the breeze, as a spirit in shadows that flits
Through the trees, as patterns of dappled and
Flickering light that blur in the distance and
Flick out of sight. They imagine their quarry
Is dancing with ease through hillock and tussock
And wind-blown leaves and they run on by ear
And follow the cries each echoes to preface their
Quarries demise; its unconscious, not rational,
Instinctively done as rules of the pack now
Govern their run, they’ll follow and follow until
They are one. Their race is fetched through hollows
And fences by strangled yips at tangled investments,
But cries stretch out and soon divide as Abbey’s pace
Outruns the pride, stragglers struggle back in the rear
And start erupting here and there with stunning leaps into
The air, comically cocked still seeking their quarry
In manic pursuit and ingenuous hurry,
But their tiny legs are sorely abused
And they’re long past caring of just who’s pursued.

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Poem The Hunt - Ivan Donn Carswell