The Wolf - Poem by Terry O'Leary
A cruel Jack Frost blows icy floss
(in front of spring a' burstin')
while shiftin' sheaves of withered leaves
near freezin' streams a' thirstin'.
A pack reviled runs roamin' wild,
the alpha wolf wakes howlin'
then scents a lean and lonesome scene
while on the lurk a' prowlin'.
A cloud revolts with spangled bolts,
and starry skies start closin'
as wild geese soar beyond death's door
neath naked moon a' posin'.
Electric shafts, like fractured rafts,
sail night's cathedral caldrons -
their cracking curse makes herds disperse
in random splayed and sprawled runs.
A she-wolf sighs with hungry eyes;
the ancient wolf waits, bayin' -
with weary back, he's lost the track,
his bandied legs betrayin'.
The brood's somewhere in shrouded lair
with mama left to mind 'em -
the wolf, a' drag with empty swag,
is on his way to find 'em.
The pack rejoins with weary loins -
perhaps its days are numbered.
In evening's night, he's feeling tight,
with aches and pains encumbered.
As morning nears, with shaggy ears
(one droopin' down, hung over)
he'll set the course with renewed force,
for, yes, he's still the rover.
When snow enshrines the timberlines
and skies are ripped asunder
though young, lupine, they'll stifle whines,
as gullies fill with thunder;
mid echoes in the mouth o' death,
they bid farewell the lair
while panting puffs o' crystal breath
float, hanging in the air.
Their path is black (they can't look back
for herds long gone a' missin')
as dusk profanes the snow-bound plains
the sinkin' sun was kissin'.
Neath northern lights, with barks and bites,
he keeps 'em all in motion -
the speckled scars of fallin' stars
display the night's devotion.
The sky's a' blushin' in the east,
and hollow wind's are sighin'
while buzzards freeze in gallows trees,
a' roostin', rapt and eyein'.
These ghouls of prey, they're spooked away,
like tumbleweeds a' blowin',
by tilted head, white fangs tipped red,
and warnin' wail's a' growin'.
With snout upturned the moon's discerned
as well as wafts a wendin'
and muzzled growls and shriekin' howls
mark wolves in quests unendin'.
With fragrant hint, the wolf's a' sprint,
the pack begins t' rally -
in swift descent they've seized a scent,
that's flowin' down the valley.
The wolf moves on behind the dawn
and shades the pale horizon
as she-wolfs vet his silhouette
each time they lay their eyes on.
With trek discreet, a trail is beat
across a river frozen -
when day's complete, just mice to eat,
a choice despised, but chosen.
A stillness jeers the shaggy ears
(one droopin' down, hung over) ,
while caribou, with much ado,
drift, seekin' blades o' clover;
the wearied pack picks up their track
(with stony stomachs pangin')
through endless seas of barren trees
with ice like daggers hangin'.
The wolf invades forgotten glades,
the pack stays close behind 'im;
the caribou, in his purview,
seem far too far to mind 'im.
Above, a baleful moonbeam wails,
"oh god he's gonna' catch 'em";
the scene is grim, the Reaper dim,
the night has gone to fetch 'im.
A moanin' mynah's crying loud
as birds of prey are preachin'
to cravin' ravens prayin' proud
and wide-eyed owls a' screechin'.
The wolf, unrushed, is breathin' hushed,
his hollow eyes a' narrowin'
and focused hard in fixed regard
on herds they'll soon be harrowin'.
The morning breeze is ill at ease,
a surge brings sudden silence -
then haggard swarms launch poundin' storms
and hurricanes of vi'lence;
the herd's surprised and paralyzed
all over hell's half acre -
the leadin' buck's run out of luck,
he's soon to meet his maker.
The old wolf creeps, the old wolf leaps
on prey he's been a' trackin' -
a deer adorned with branchin' horns
is torn by beasts attackin'.
The morning quakes, a shadow shakes,
tined antlers left a' lyin',
and spattered spots and scarlet clots
repaint the point o' dyin'.
A magpie flies with frightened eyes
(on ebon wings a' wavin') ,
spies wolfin' jaws and sated maws
of wolves no longer cravin'.
The snowdrift clears, a cool wind veers,
a dying breath, moreover -
a wraith appears, with shaggy ears,
(one droopin' down, hung over) .
Dawn's sunbeams crowd, ignite a cloud,
its threaded strands a' weavin'.
The pack awakes and twists and shakes,
for soon it's time for leavin';
it's bleak, it chills on shallow hills,
as she-wolfs come a' nuzzlin',
but north winds scold, the wolf lies cold,
the pack stands back a' puzzlin'.
On crimson snows neath perchin' crows,
the pack abides a' guardin';
while nights are tight with Harpy kites,
the she-wolves wait an' harden,
until a groanin' blizzard stones
the barren forest stowin'
his shaggy ears beneath the weirs,
with icy hails 'a blowin'.
The storm abates and terminates,
the glacial wind's subsidin';
the past is past or passin' fast
and life goes on abidin'.
The herds, today, roam far away,
not thinkin' of the dyin';
the pack'll stray from day to day,
'a stalkin' hard and tryin'.
As spring sneaks forth upon the north,
they're lean without their leader.
A she-wolf (bound with belly round)
strains neath a budding cedar.
Upon the morn a whelp is born
(the future forest drover)
in new frontiers, with shaggy ears
(one droopin' down, hung over) .
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