Look at the stag! He leaps at the trees
and hoofs through the bracken, eyes wide in despair;
his moonlit pelt spattered by mud and debris
as hand-echoed huntcalls shiver the air.
Look at the stag, he darts from the flares
of beaters who stalk him, no time to freeze:
the dogs are about him, snouts frothed as they seize
his stress-shaking haunch, tumble him, tear
at his throat to spatter hot blood. Now see
him, eyes wide now, dispaired.
Look at the feast! Great platters of meat
and scuttles of beer brought to sate a fair
of dancers and lovers; a barrage of treats:
a pivot of swan breasts; boar heads in pairs -
look at the feast! There's ramstones to share,
and manstones, and tongue-in-a-purse - discrete
entrapments performed as a service replete
and dulled and indifferent, each unaware
participant lost and alone. Now see
the feast that sates the fair.
Look at the man! He squats by a tree
and stares out the moon, mustering charms.
His lap hosts a knife, its iron blade free
from its yellowhorn sheath; he weaves a barm
of mist from a cauldron, now seething, now calm.
Look at the man as he sits on the tee
of a stripy old hide, his work to decree
the rise of a newly birthed sun - his arm
and his song are the tools of God! Now see
the Tallyman master his charms.