Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Watercolour by Tony Taylor http://www.paintingbreaksguernsey.com

Thursday, 13 April 2017

SPLITTING HARES

Previously, I've featured my poem, The Murchen Quartet, only in sections. Here it is, complete.





















THE MURCHEN QUARTET

1. RETURN

Midnight: a sickle moon, black trees in silhouette,
tall, jagged tops,
an electrocardiogram
scribbled on night sky.
Nearby,
a sloping meadow,
a derelict croft,
a dry-stone wall winding, like a serpent,
towards somewhere unseen.
Field-mice stir
in the emerald grasses,
a barn-owl hunts, soundlessly,
like a reaper’s blade,
back and forth over dew-moist ground.
All is absolute, glistening stillness
hushed as the world’s final breath.

He comes over the wall, rippling the darkness,
fluidly, spilling like water,
brown-booted, hooded, soft-footed,
moving with purpose and stealth,
crosses the meadow, head down-turned, hurrying,
curtained by camouflage, covert, concealed.

Kneeling, he opens a satchel,
secured by a leather-made leash,
and gently releases,
as though giving birth,
two leverets, supple and sinewy-soft,
that huddle together, immobile as boulders,
to feel the soft night on their shimmering fur,
and inhale the meadow, the moisture, the magic,
the coolness of grass, the moist sweetness of air.

Two young hares in the vastness of England,
two creatures dispatched to make Eden anew,
heed their ancestral summons and,
swallowed by darkness,
slip into the future, on cue.

2. DAWN

Each dawn,
the world, reborn, astounds:
sky, eggshell-blue,
grass greener, yet,
than far-off fields,
and mountains, a kaleidoscope
of purples.
Clear water, over polished rocks,
cascades
as wind unsettles trees.
Beside a zig-zag,
amber stream,  
a dragonfly, with rainbow wings,
flicks like a fencer’s blade.
Each dawn they view
their changed, unchanging world
fresh-made,
its energy,
its prehistoric, savage joy,
intoxicates them.
They flourish.

3. JOY

Awakened,
past erased, future
nonexistent,

their world begins afresh.

Only the extraordinary now,
a collision of senses,
exists.

Music.
Blackbird’s flute,
grasshopper’s fiddle,
drumbeat scuttle of field-mice,
accordion-wind in high meadows.

Silence.
In crystalline pools
trout glide like ghosts.
Owls, tombed in dead trees,
imitate death.

Dreamlike,
in the magical moment,

hares dance.

4. SURVIVAL

Stillness is her best defence.

So she becomes
a russet stone,
a dark tussock,
a clod of earth, upturned,

perhaps merely a shadow,
there, by a dry-stone wall
on hostile, open ground.

No shiver of wind
disturbs her tawny fur.

She sits, unbreathing,
stiff as an idol.

Only her eyes, bead bright
in a fine-boned head, travel
like planets.

With leather-gaitered boots,
mountainous shape,
tobacco reek,
and slow-departing tread,

danger passes.



Murchen is the Gaelic word for hare.

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