19 June 2013

The Hunt






















The hunt begins at a languid pace and 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’s on the bound, with Benson in tow. Nicki, the mother,
Cleopatra by name, sniffs deftly around in her chosen domain,
disdaining this gang so bold to the fore, deploring their

brashness, though all the more pensive than disdainfully
old – yet 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
Abigail’s sights, or at least in her thoughts 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 one of them finding
   
his scent by misfortune 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 Nicki
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 stunning leaps erupt in the air,

ears 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.
© I.D. Carswell