The Coney in the Snow
'tis long years since we've had such a snow.....
long years since the Row has been silenced with it,
the Hill crowned and quietened beneath chill arms,
black-naked trees bowing to white weight.
Not often is there the need (nor the moment to spare)
for me to wander up Hill nor down valley,
but this day....
this day of particular silence
has wound its fingers about my heart.
And so I find my feet upon a path in what should pass for forest here:
all tumble-down limbs of ancient trees,
tangles of sudden-frosted grasses,
even an unwary beetle,
to his leaf....
rimed and sparking,
gem'd with light......
in his winter cloak,
as the snow itself
(whiter, maybe, for I saw him plain,
like light itself upon the ground).
He does not stir at my approach
(save the wrinkling and unwrinkling of a curious nose),
eyes calm and questioning
as if it is I whose measure
is being taken.
'Tis then I note
the dotted red to his side,
the brown-mottled foot trailing
He makes no protest to being
within the cradle of my arm.
Tired eyes look askance,
down'd ears warm
beneath the cloak's haven.
I chance to visit the Master upon a day early in Spring.
For all that he has borne,
he bears watching.
(yet bears it ill, right ill indeed,
if he should catch me at it).
And so I observe him,
Always proper he is,
buttoned just so.....
even his hurt hand held so that no one (save me) might know....
That hand, now……
closed with warm care
about a ruff of autumn-brown
sleek fur softly defining the short-fingered gap there….
And the other hand…..
unconscious of meaning or no…..
the bunched knob where now the coney’s leg
They get on quite well, you know.
Quite well, indeed.