Canto IX: The Hunt Continues
We wandered North, in slow pursuit of them,
half hindered by the shaky ground between
our friendship, half by dehydration-pain.
Before much time had passed we found the signs
of their society. We ventured forth.
I welcomed that reprieve adrenaline
provides from thought and ache as we became
adjusted to the business of the hunt.
The vision of the blackened babe erased,
I turned my thoughts to tracks and scents and gut.
An hour passed us, neither spoke but let
the forest music fill the space between.
We needed only one Wolf hide to make
this expedition worth the weight, for rare
were wild wolves, and we both knew
the man who’d buy the pelts at hefty sum,
who ventured to the valley Black from where
he lived upon the final overlook--
a wealthy tourist-- a source of pride for him,
his bravery to grace us with himself,
no doubt a thrill for him as well to go
where danger might befall him any time.
No doubt this was the source of his passion,
the wild things we sought: for though his wealth
could grant him privilege unknowable,
to hunt was like to be the only itch which he,
in all his glory, could not pay to scratch;
The only primal need of every man
which, being in his tower safe from harm,
protected from the white plague and the poor,
he could not satisfy in earnest truth.
We only needed one to make it good,
but rarely can you find just one alone,
and so, my senses hightened, I pursued
with care, for easily the chase of one
might turn into a flight from many more.
These thoughts my mind mulled mercifully along,
and only rarely did the images
of last night and its dreaming sights impede.
Then, suddenly, we came upon a field,
the centerpiece of which did shade our prize:
a giant tree amidst a natural bed
of green, upon which four large beasts laid still.
They slept, their bellies full from last night’s hunt.
Staying back, we two devised a plan.
We thought it best to lie in wait for dusk
to scatter them and put them off their guard,
and in the chaos both to section off
a single monster. Thus we deemed most safe.
Fortunate we deemed ourselves that few
appeared to number all this savage cult.
And thus we two resolved to rest our bones,
preparing for the waylay still ahead,
though neither I suspect did truly rest,
the taste of bitter change still on our tongues.