Last night I was woken by the rain, and in the silence that followed, I heard someone whistling. Nobody whistles anymore, not even workmen. Maybe because songs don’t have tunes these days. Not that you could whistle anyway. My thoughts went to the film, The Night of the Hunter. If you don’t know it, go and watch it immediately.


In the deep, dark night after the rain,

The sound of whistling wafts, a low refrain.

Footsteps pad where no one walks,

Through gardens full of sleeping birds,

Yet I hear a piping tune that has no words.

Behind the ragged clouds, the moon glows pale,

A water lily on a stormy sea,

Shines on nothing that the eye can see.

And then the wind comes,

Slams with gusting fist,

The windows fling and shutters clack,

Doors bang to and fro,

And I push the window closed against the night.

Morning light shows willows bowing low

And broken boughs that sigh and moan,

The wind blows through the hazel leaves,

That flutter, pitter-patter, light as rain,

But none screams louder than the poplars,

Waving supple branches in the cloudy sky:

This night the hunter stalked,

And somewhere in the shadows waits.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

22 thoughts on “Hunter”

    1. Thank you! I have never heard anyone here whistling a tune, that I can remember. To hear whistling at two in the morning, where there isn’t even a street for passing drunks to amble by, spooked me completely.

      1. I think its the wind rather gust…I had written of this…you remember We Few#11…the whistle thing happen when the force of the wind have to friction with something…in your matter it is the trees around you or may be the poplar tree…

      2. It’s always possible I imagined it, a cat crying or something, but I’m almost certain it was whistling. I do remember your poem, very atmospheric in a hot sultry way.

      3. Not actually dream but the trance i.e. our awaken subconscious…Freud had a theory on this as far I recollect on this between deep sleep & the filmsy sleep before waking up…a state when mind wake up but not senses…so do not get scared Jane…

    1. It’s a dying art. I’m sure it’s because modern pop music just doesn’t have tunes.I don’t hear people singing either. Nobody whistles anyway, and certainly not at night. Scared me to death.

  1. Wow. This is powerful.

    I’m not going to pick favorite lines because I would hardly omit any and take up too much space.

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