Terry O'Leary


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) .

Topic(s) of this poem: narrative


Comments about The Wolf by Terry O'Leary

  • (10/23/2012 2:07:00 PM)


    Terry - long poem, but worth the read, lovely rhyme and flow to this. Reminded me a bit of the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald with language choices... -chuck (Report) Reply

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  • Ellias Anderson Jr. (8/11/2012 4:29:00 AM)


    strongest poem where ever i have read.wolves, ..strange animals..they can be symbol of lots of things..a hunger wolf, a wild one and.....they can show us how to be in a group and concern about others, but these animals can also eat each other in winter when there is no food! Symbol of two things in a time! two opposite things!
    Magnificent and perfect Work! it's fantastic Terry! So talented!
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, August 10, 2012

Poem Edited: Friday, October 13, 2017


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