Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Great Shadow

Our old friend, the poetaster,

The one who writes a poem day

And likes to natter on about

The meaning of meaninglessness,

Was out with his infant daughter

For her dawn perambulation

Down the dirt road through the forest

Picking at berries and flowers,

Having his usual deep thoughts

About seasons and calendars,

Singing his morning song cycle,

And chattering at his daughter,

When he noticed a large shadow

Up ahead on the hill-road home.

He paused, stopped shoving the stroller,

And scrutinized the black outline.

Damn if it wasn't a big bear,

Biggest black bear he'd ever seen,

Blocking the path, sniffing the air,

Depthless silhouette in sunlight,

So large that its hindpaws rested

In one wheel-rut, front paws athwart

The other rut, straddling the road.

Lord God in Heaven, it was huge.

All thoughts of meaninglessness flew

From his oversized monkey brain,

Now completely preoccupied 

With fight or flight, freeze or defend.

He roared. He raised his arms. He sang

The song of Disney's harmless dwarves

In the deepest tone he could groan--

"Heigh-ho! To scare the bear we go!"

Slowly, softly, the shadow turned

And sniffed the noisy hominin.

Quieter than a bear should be,

It slipped back into the forest,

Leaving our friend and his daughter,

One wired and one oblivious,

To contemplate crossing the spot

Where that great, black shadow had been.

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