Sunday, 21 February 2016

Night Life

All my life I have been both fascinated and appalled by the way nature and human nature have so much in common in terms of natural beauty and an inclination for violence; we may well put the latter down to the survival of the fittest, but does that make it right and if so, right for whom? Not the rabbit pounced upon by a fox or the fox ripped to pieces by hounds nor the mentally ill taunted to distraction by an ill-informed society or the elderly person similarly deprived of due care because they are considered expendable…


I’ve walked living woods at night,
heard nightingales sing, watched
blackbirds to the nest homeward fly,
a shooting star prick an owl’s wing,
and trees sweeping stars from the sky;
I’ve seen rabbits outrun foxes,
badgers outwit trappers (now and then)
moles defy blindness, bats surface,
fireflies dissemble, Man in the Moon
snuggle up to a sleeping swan

I’ve walked living woods at night,
released a hare caught in a trap,
seen poachers retrieve, try to bag more,
harried only by time quickly passing
and an owl’s haunting cry. Once I saw
a fox catch a rabbit, rip it to pieces,
hid while badger baiters did their worst
in what they dare to call ‘sport’ while
fair Cassiopeia in a cloud took her leave
( Eye can’t see, heart won’t grieve?) 

Humankind, nature, no less in common
come sundown...

Copyright R. N. Taber 2007; 2016

Note: An earlier version of this poem appears under the title ' A Nature Lover’s Dream’ in Accomplices to Illusion by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2007; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

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