Poaching in soft moonlight rain, 1952

When I was a young boy, my father took me poaching, not for fun but for meat for the table.


Boy and bitch move softly
through the mizzly August night,
following the field’s edge
to avoid the moonlit stubble,
shadowed by a man and dog
across the midnight ground.

Yet too noisy for the hare,
crouching in its form between reaped rows,
who hears then scents the lurcher’s presence
and driven by an overpowering fear
breaks cover on the levelled field.

The doe always circles
but this straight flight’s a buck,
a low blur of movement tracked by the pounding bitch
who herds him to a screaming death
in her silent mate’s teeth
loosed at last minute from the shadow’s safety.

A soft mouthed kill
with little blood to smear the pelt.
The dogs not easy to recall
excited by success they dart and weave
heedless of the coming storm.






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