At the first swathe of dawn

dogs wag and scramble

in a clockwork frenzy,

rummage in a slung wigwam

of twig and branch

scenting rabbit,

fox and mouse.


In this fractured wood

where ripped roots

reach like snakes from the graves of trees,

two deer,

mottled by morning,



Their presence drifts on a wave of breeze . . .

dogs freeze.

Then dart!


Deer break,

crash through sapless scrub . . .


with rider-less grace,

clears the hedge and is gone.


The other bounds, uncertainly . . .

then sets herself into the rising sun

its ray a pathway

pulling up the hill.

This way. This way.


Dogs chase.

Gain ground.

She turns

and black, in miniature,

heaves beneath the halo of the day.


One way remains to win this race -


with instinct sharpened from the wild

and gambling theirs is man-made blunt

she stands

to call

her hunters` bluff . . .


In one, four-legged-leap

                                        she`s gone.