Alden Nowlan

Rookie (25 January 1933 - 27 June 1983 / Stanley, Nova Scotia)

The Bull Moose

Poem by Alden Nowlan

Down from the purple mist of trees on the mountain,
lurching through forests of white spruce and cedar,
stumbling through tamarack swamps,
came the bull moose
to be stopped at last by a pole-fenced pasture.

Too tired to turn or, perhaps, aware
there was no place left to go, he stood with the cattle.
They, scenting the musk of death, seeing his great head
like the ritual mask of a blood god, moved to the other end
of the field, and waited.

The neighbours heard of it, and by afternoon
cars lined the road. The children teased him
with alder switches and he gazed at them
like an old, tolerant collie. The woman asked
if he could have escaped from a Fair.

The oldest man in the parish remembered seeing
a gelded moose yoked with an ox for plowing.
The young men snickered and tried to pour beer
down his throat, while their girl friends took their pictures.

And the bull moose let them stroke his tick-ravaged flanks,
let them pry open his jaws with bottles, let a giggling girl
plant a little purple cap
of thistles on his head.

When the wardens came, everyone agreed it was a shame
to shoot anything so shaggy and cuddlesome.
He looked like the kind of pet
women put to bed with their sons.

So they held their fire. But just as the sun dropped in the river
the bull moose gathered his strength
like a scaffolded king, straightened and lifted his horns
so that even the wardens backed away as they raised their rifles.

When he roared, people ran to their cars. All the young men
leaned on their automobile horns as he toppled.


Submitted by cutebabystar


Comments about The Bull Moose by Alden Nowlan

  • Ramesh T ARamesh T A (3/26/2020 10:02:00 AM)

    Apt poem on bull fight being selected as Modern Poem of the Day by PH! Congrats to the Poet!(Report)Reply

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  • Francie LynchFrancie Lynch (3/26/2020 9:14:00 AM)

    Reminds me of the revellers on the beaches in Florida during this crisis. They too want to shoot we bull moose with covid bullets.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (3/26/2020 9:04:00 AM)

    A beautiful story is lying behind this beautiful poem composed by Alden Nowlan.(Report)Reply

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  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (3/26/2020 8:31:00 AM)

    When he roared, people ran to their cars. All the young men
    leaned on their automobile horns as he toppled. a fine poem.tony(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • tolexe (3/26/2020 5:55:00 AM)

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  • Ratnakar Mandlik (3/26/2019 11:44:00 PM)

    A beautiful story poem reminding to some extent the story of the taming of the bull. Congrats on well deserved modern poem of the Day.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (3/26/2019 11:30:00 PM)

    superb poetic expression............................(Report)Reply

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  • doug scotney (3/26/2019 8:00:00 PM)

    Instead of going down with a grunt, going down with a bellow(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (3/26/2019 2:22:00 PM)

    The purple mist! ! ! !

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (3/26/2019 11:43:00 AM)

    This poem is beautifully written. So impressive and moving.(Report)Reply

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  • sojanson (3/26/2019 7:36:00 AM)

    f­or y­ou­n­g ­p­e­o­p­l­e ­it ­is ­i­n­cr­e­d­i­b­ly t­ou­g­h t­o ­f­i­n­d ­A j­o­b. ­es­p­e­c­i­A­l­ly t­h­os­e tr­A­ns­it­i­o­n­i­n­g ­fr­o­m stu­dy t­o w­or­k w­it­h ­l­i­m­it­e­d w­or­k ­ex­p­er­i­e­n­c­e. t­h­is s­it­e ­o­f­f­ers A w­Ay ­f­or y­ou­n­g j­o­b s­e­e­k­ers t­o st­A­n­d ­out, , , ; .­

    copy and paste> =====> > http: //www.Geosalary.com(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • sojanson (3/26/2019 7:36:00 AM)

    f­or y­ou­n­g ­p­e­o­p­l­e ­it ­is ­i­n­cr­e­d­i­b­ly t­ou­g­h t­o ­f­i­n­d ­A j­o­b. ­es­p­e­c­i­A­l­ly t­h­os­e tr­A­ns­it­i­o­n­i­n­g ­fr­o­m stu­dy t­o w­or­k w­it­h ­l­i­m­it­e­d w­or­k ­ex­p­er­i­e­n­c­e. t­h­is s­it­e ­o­f­f­ers A w­Ay ­f­or y­ou­n­g j­o­b s­e­e­k­ers t­o st­A­n­d ­out, .­; ; ;

    copy and paste> =====> > http: //www.Geosalary.com(Report)Reply

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  • sojanson (3/26/2019 7:34:00 AM)

    f­or y­ou­n­g ­p­e­o­p­l­e ­it ­is ­i­n­cr­e­d­i­b­ly t­ou­g­h t­o ­f­i­n­d ­A j­o­b. ­es­p­e­c­i­A­l­ly t­h­os­e tr­A­ns­it­i­o­n­i­n­g ­fr­o­m stu­dy t­o w­or­k w­it­h ­l­i­m­it­e­d w­or­k ­ex­p­er­i­e­n­c­e. t­h­is s­it­e ­o­f­f­ers A w­Ay ­f­or y­ou­n­g j­o­b s­e­e­k­ers t­o st­A­n­d ­out, .­, , .

    copy and paste> =====> > http: //www.Geosalary.com(Report)Reply

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  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (3/26/2019 6:21:00 AM)

    o they held their fire. But just as the sun dropped in the river
    the bull moose gathered his strength
    like a scaffolded king, straightened and lifted his horns
    so that even the wardens backed away as they raised their rifles. great expressions in a descriptive Poem. than k u. tony(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Pranab K ChakrabortyPranab K Chakraborty (3/26/2019 12:57:00 AM)

    " Too tired to turn or, perhaps, aware
    there was no place left to go, he stood with the cattle." ............... The poem inclines to give a soft stroke of colored brush just to show the difference of verse with prose. Nice.(Report)Reply

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  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (3/26/2019 12:34:00 AM)

    One of the best poems by Alden Nowlan.........(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (12/5/2016 8:27:00 AM)

    Great imagery and fantastic storyline with fine flow....I loved it,
    Down from the purple mist of trees on the mountain,
    lurching through forests of white spruce and cedar,
    stumbling through tamarack swamps,
    came the bull moose
    to be stopped at last by a pole-fenced pasture.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • John Richter (8/10/2015 8:29:00 AM)

    Agreed. This poet is awesome!(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Michael Crawford (3/28/2013 12:33:00 PM)

    Jesus! This is incredible!(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Matthew P (12/1/2004 9:24:00 PM)

    This is an absolutely brilliant poem. Symbolism is obvious... just in the first line- down, meaning that he has come from 'up' or power, then purple, which symbolizes royalty, purple mist- somewhat magical.Truely an astounding poem.(Report)Reply

    12 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: purple, girl, women, strength, river, woman, children, fire, people, death, sun, god, car, child, friend, tree, running, son, remember



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003