The Hunt is Late

I fear
the hunt
is late
this year

because
of the green
canopies

because
of the unfallen
leaves

because
your presence
is just

a whisper
of an antlered
figure in

boughs
not yet shaken
by wind.

You are here.

You are here

I know it
by the black cat
who leaps

into my
arms trembling.
The quick-

ening beat
of my heart and
the shiver

of winter
rain falling by
lamplight.

You are here.

You are here.

I know it
when I recite
my poem –

the rain
falls harder your
night-drum

beating
within me and
the wood.

Shadows
stretch and prowl
yet your

hunters
remain dark to
the seer.

I fear
the hunt
is late
this year.

*This poem is addressed to Gwyn ap Nudd, a Brythonic god whose hunt traditionally rides to gather the souls of the dead on Nos Galan Gaeaf. It is based on my marking of the occasion by reciting my poem ‘When You Hunt for Souls in the Winter Rain‘ (in the winter rain!) for Gwyn in Greencroft Valley. I find it disturbing that some of the leaves are still green and many have not yet fallen at this time of year, which in the Celtic calendars marks the beginning of winter. (The Welsh Nos Galan Gaeaf means ‘The night before the first day of winter’ and the Irish Samhain means ‘Summer’s End’).

4 thoughts on “The Hunt is Late

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