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Friday, 9 December 2011

The Beast of Burntwood Moor

Lynx, panther, jaguar, lion,
a bit of each and something else as well;
we felt its presence long before
the first eyes saw it
seconds on the skyline then away
among the trees, behind the hillocks
and the sheds where are our animals.
It haunts, it stalks;
we're not right sure which word is nearest to the truth,
but all we know:
there's something in the way it stretches
in mid-leap or -lope suggests
it has reserves of length we cannot guess;
and then there's something in its colour:
black -
or jet as some have said,
though neither term does justice to its depth -
intense as mortal sin
dredged from the guilty mind, and dark as unbelief.

And then there's something in its shadowness...
substantial as the creature is, there's something in
the way it flits
from tree to tree
or clump to clump.

Ground-hugging, bat-
like animal!
Though others see it differently, all are agreed
that in the whole of what it is, lives menace.

It comes to this perhaps:
that what we see in anything is what we've hid within.
Our guilty minds make blockheads of us all.

14 comments:

anthonynorth said...

Loved the ending to this. If we could learn that lesson it would be a better world.

Tabor said...

That last paragraph is my favorite as it says a universal truth!!

rch said...

Ah so true my friend, some of the worst monsters definitely have human faces.

Kass said...

Nice twist at the end. Ground-hugging beasts we all are at times.

Brian Miller said...

what we see in anything is what we have hidden within...that is fabulous itself dave...great piece of verse...

haricot said...

We have faint memory of interaction with nature somewhere in our mind when we had not sin?

HKatz said...

it has reserves of length we cannot guess

I like the elegance and rhythm of this line, and what it suggests. There's more terror to what's left unsaid and left to the imagination. And as you point out, we are more than capable of filling up dark corners with our own imaginings, terror and guilt. I also like how the first couple of lines bring to mind an imaginative mythological beast - a bit of everything, the jaws of this beast, the paws of that one, etc.

Rohit said...

hi Dave,feels nice to return again. you write really deep.Really enjoyed reading it in the beginning..the serene natural depiction was awesome but lost comprehension overall ,courtesy my limited vocabulary and poetry understanding!
love ur blog..its pure poetry...no gimmicks,fancy pics,animation,flash or widget stuff...very rare to find!

Windsmoke. said...

The last line was very humourous indeed it made me smile and i didn't really see it coming, well done :-).

Titus said...

Dave, you came up trumps in the prize draw for a copy of the new pamphlet - could you e-mail me your address so I can post it?

I'm TitusmckayATaolDOTcom

Congratulations! Just been reading Scarlett Thomas' 'Our Tragic Universe' which features a beast too. I enjoyed yours.

kaykuala said...

Dave,
The animals in us, yes! Some have control over them, some don't. As long as it's not violent but gentle (as when with a loved one)it's bliss!

Hank

Mary said...

Yes, Dave...what we see in something is in the qualities we have given it! And each wild creature has indeed something of ourselves within it, whether we admit it or now.

Dave King said...

anthonynorth
Agreed. Thanks.

Tabor
I didn't really expect anyone to say that, but gratified. Thanks.

rch
That's certainly so. Thanks for your comment.

Kass
Good point. Yes, I go along with that.

Brian
It's reallypleasing that you think so. Thanks for saying.

haricot
Intriguing thought. Yes, just possible. The collective memory?

HKatz
Hi, good to have you visiting and to have such a comprehansive reply. Thank you for the feedback. Most helpful and encouraging.

Ronit
Hi, and welcome back indeed. Thank you so much for your kind response. It is great to have this sort of reply.

Windsmoke
Thanks for this.

Titus
Wow, thanks. Will do.

kaykuala
I don't think any of us have complete control. Thanks.

Mary
Yes, it's true, I'm sure. Thanks for another very kind and helpful reply.

eflores said...

What a trek! Thank you for sharing!

Erick Flores