Sonnet for the hare

Although the animal and birdlife has otherwise been so rich, I have been saddened to see only one hare and a couple of forms this spring. Usually there are lots of them. It was a real pleasure to discover there are several hares bunking up with the rabbits on the bank across the lane. I noticed them this evening, the rabbits quietly cropping the grass as usual, and a couple of hares chasing one another about like mad things. A detail in the bigger picture perhaps, but it made me happy.

 

 

hare1

Winding white, sweet-thorned, the roses climb

And ramble wild among hibiscus boughs;

Is this the moment longed for since the time

When spring was whispered? Now the west wind soughs

In branches full-leafed, full of nesting birds.

They nestle closer, once were timid things

That fled, but now I shape their songs in words

Of pleasure in their bright and gaudy wings.

And when I see the hares race on the hill,

Long legs, long ears and full of springtime joy,

I feel perfection in the air distill,

That no fear of the hunter can alloy.

I’ll follow where they lead, their wild hearts’ beat,

To where the flowered plain and free sky meet.

 

The secret

A bit of formal rhythm and rhyme for the dverse prompt this evening.

Photo ©John Fielding / A Mountain Hare Leveret / CC BY-SA 2.0

A_Mountain_Hare_Leveret_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1263133

There is a tree where apples grow,

And in the bank a spring;

There is a wall where roses blow,

A hedge where blackbirds sing.

 

A secret in the tall grass lies,

So still you’d not look there,

To see the soft brown anxious eyes

Of spring’s first newborn hare.

 

Hare brains

Yesterday evening, just after supper, we watched a hare loping around the house just under the windows, not doing anything in particular, nibbling a bit here and there. For once, we thought to try and take a few photos, through rainy windows though so as not to frighten it away by opening them.

Later, walking Finbar before bedtime, the fox was there again by the boundary fence. All three of us were startled when a pair of barn owls swooped between us, screeching like banshees. Magic (again) !

hare1.jpg

The neighbour says they know,

they taste the air around the house

and sense a peaceful calm,

like birds that know the lazy cat, replete,

will not even stir a paw.

They come up close she says

when the house is still, the light is silent,

timid things that race away when danger strikes.

There’s something in the scent of meadow grass,

the scent of man-not-killer

around houses such as hers, as mine.

I watch the way she bends and parts the weeds,

not uprooting—they need their space too—

finger-skin cracked and black with ingrained earth,

how she listens to the song of every bird,

and in the slow, measured sweep of her hands

the bow of her back

through the crook of finger and the tilt of her head

she builds a place of safety

deer-dark

hare-tight.

hare2

Silvering

 

after the rain the moon

like sand settling

silver

in animal pelts

half-shadows

half grainy movement.

I sift the grains

the crosshatched trees

for the magical hare

in the pooled darkness

of these shifting seas

but the night closes

after the rain

full of moon-wash

silvering

my elusive wilderness.

Peeling back the layers

 

Peeling back the layers of silence,

the silence of songbirds, grass-whispers,

and the rushy quiet of the poplars,

there is still silence.

Peeling back the layers of movement,

lizard dart, bird flash,

boughs swaying in time to the slow flap flap of the heron,

and the earth still turns.

I wonder, do I love this solitude,

the ever-changing scene beyond the window,

the summer-long crunch of dry grass beneath my feet,

the berried and bedecked autumn trees?

Walking, we start a hare.

I watch it lope away, unhurried,

while dog still snuffs the empty briar patch.

Sun washes the last haystacks,

and in the dappling of the dancing leaves,

I see the hare hop merrily across the stream.

Perhaps this is all that matters.

And that you will be home this evening

to watch the shadows creep across the meadow.

Faits divers

Taking a break from shredding a few chapters of my re-write. Here are two what we call faits divers which used to be called chiens écrasés meaning news items of the lowest degree of interest ie dogs run over on the road.

On Sunday we were tickled by a report coming from Paris about a knife attack by a deranged asylum seeker who injured seven people before he was ‘stopped’. Not funny for the seven victims, but for the way he was ‘stopped’. A group of men playing pétanque by the Canal d’Ourq spotted the commotion and lobbed their boules at him. They got four or five direct hits on the head. The mayor praised their rapid reactions (and their aim).

The journalist on Sunday evening said the suspect had not been able to be interrogated because he was still unconscious. Tu parles!

The other very strange thing was to do with our hare. As usual, yesterday evening it appeared by the willows, making its way along the stream while we were finishing supper on the porch. We lost sight of it for a while then it came back, but instead of keeping to the trees it ambled up towards the house. It stopped by the wood pile about ten yards away and looked at us, chewed a few leaves and sat up to watch us again. Finbar had noticed it by this time and had stood up (he was tied up just in case) ready to defend the household. The hare stared at him.

Surely, we thought, it’s going to bolt any moment. It didn’t. Staring straight at Finbar it hopped closer.

“Oh My God,” husband said, “It’s on a suicide mission!”

It hopped slowly right up to us, got to within a couple of yards, accelerated, zipped right under Finbar’s nose and hared off round the side of the house. Finbar was so gobsmacked he didn’t even bark until it had disappeared. They say hares are timid, Irish folklore says they are wise, husband says they are mad. I’m inclined to think they’re all three.