I walk this darkening ride; ahead, where bough
meets trunk, cradled, as though preserved till game,
arse-end of fox, stirrup-cup high. Abroad,
dusk-fall, this is no children’s storybook,
tail lacking, scalped at stump; bad medicine,
the caveat fly-blown. The other side,
as though wrapped round some stern, old maiden aunt,
the mask stares down, eyes deep bead-amber pools.
Recall the dancer, stirring dawn’s fierce light
to living flame. Noontide, somebody’s kid,
hot-blood, Punch-proud, has felt that weeping brush
daub cheek and brow, to howl and wild applause.
As I trudge home, outraged, the earth stale crust,
the rusting leaves death-rattle underfoot.