From my boyhood I remember
A crystal moment of September.
A wooded island rang with sounds
Of church bells in the throats of hounds.
A buck leaped out and took the tide
With jewels flowing past each side.
With his head high like a tree
He swam within a yard of me.
I saw the golden drop of light
In his eyes turned dark with fright.
I saw the forest’s holiness
On him like a fierce caress.
Fear made him lovely past belief,
My heart was trembling like a leaf.
He leans towards the land and life
With need above him like a knife.
In his wake the hot hounds churned
They stretched their muzzles out and yearned.
They bayed no more, but swam and throbbed
Hunger drove them till they sobbed.
Pursued, pursuers reached the shore
And vanished. I saw nothing more.
So they passed, a pageant such
As only gods could witness much,
Life and death upon one tether
And running beautiful together.