The White Throated Panthers Poem by Loretta Shively

The White Throated Panthers

Twas in the year of 1812, in February's cold;
Jock Edwards played the part of man at just 14 years old
Four settlers in the state of Main left Jock the camp to fend;
when after logging wood for ships, went home, their farms to tend.
They left four oxen with young Jock, and just a bit of hay.
Agreed that once the hay was gone he'd drive them home to stay.
Jock had no gun, but had a bow - he'd made and trusted much.
He did not fear wild animals which denned; like bears and such.
In Maine, the deadly catamounts - or panthers, as we say,
were seldom seen - so little feared. They weren't a threat that way
At night, he'd prop the door fast shut, and lay his bow close by.
Then curl up in a homespun quilt and bison-coat so dry.
The snow was deep; his food near gone. The hay was eaten, too.
So when it rained for several days, Jock knew what he must do.
As soon as fairer weather came, he yoked his team of four.
He hitched them to a sled and drove the oxen out the door.
They drove alone till almost night. The trek toward home was slow
The team pressed on, but every step kept sinking in the snow.
Near night, the oxen stopped, and balked. Jock stood, and looked ahead.
He thought at first, he saw a dog a ways beyond the sled.
Jock shot an arrow toward the dog, but when it turned he saw
it was a catamount instead, that moved with stealthy crawl.
Then, when it finally left the road, Jock's team began to run!
And looking back, lock saw the cats - three more had joined the one.
Jock's bison coat fell off the sled, while racing for their lives.
The catamounts attacked the coat with teeth and claws like knives.
Three miles from home there was a barn on Wilkin's empty lot.
The oxen pulled up to the door, and refuge there they sought.
Jock wrenched the barn door open, quick. The oxen rushed inside.
Jock latched the door, and looked around. The walls had cracks - too wide
The hungry panthers reached the barn. Jock found a pitchfork there.
To fight the prowling catamounts and save his life - he'd dare.
So when Jock saw their savage eyes as they peered through a crack,
he jabbed them with his pitchfork prongs in hopes that they'd fall back.
From side to side he fought the brutes; which snarling, tried again.
Jock stumbled 'cross the sled and back, in this dark, flimsy den.
The cattle started moaning low, and sweating in their fright.
They knocked lock down and tried to run when boards crashed to their right.
Jock lost his fork! The cats broke in. The cows in terror, bawled.
A fearful racket then ensued - the snarling panthers clawed.
Jock tried to run, and in the dark he found a ladder propped
against the wall. So up he climbed. He reached the beams, and stopped.
The oxen tried to drag the sled. The ladder fell, when bumped.
Two oxen somehow broke away before the panthers jumped.
The oxen fought with hoof and horn. 'Though cornered; held their ground.
And then the third one joined their ranks. The fourth - the panthers found.
Poor Jock, in terror, gripped the beam; and heard the panthers quarrel,
as on the ox, they gorged themselves with tooth, and claw, and snarl.
At last - long last the morning dawned. Three catamounts stole out.
The fourth remained; it ate and ate; and then Jock heard a shout
Jock's brother, Freely, yelled his name. 'Do not come in! ' Jock said.
'Tell Pa to bring his gun - and quick! A panther's in this shed! '
Before his brother could return, the last great cat had gone.
Jock couldn't bear the gory sight the brutes had feasted on.
The men arrived with guns in hand, and trailed the panther's track.
They failed to find the catamounts that day; and so, came back.
They dragged the ox, that had been killed, outside the barn for bait.
While inside, several settlers sat with loaded guns to wait.
They waited there for two long nights before a panther came.
They shot, then skinned and hung it up upon the barn door frame.
This cat, when measured with its tail, came out to nine feet long!
With deadly jaws and fatal claws, and muscles rippling strong.
Most panthers travel by themselves, but Jock had four to face!
Could you be brave, think clear, and fight, if you were in his place?

Loretta Shively

Monday, August 15, 2022
Topic(s) of this poem: lion,wildlife,danger,american history,mountain,bravery,america
A true story
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