Wednesday 18 August 2010

The Hunting of an Irish Hare

The Hunting of an Irish Hare.

As the law demands, she is released,
Set free as wildfire upon the wind,
Leaping forth as a flicker of flame,
From a cell of willow, the does bane,
Onto that field where only war awaits,
And the dogs that will decide her fate,
Her bones so brittle betwixt their bites,
As sleek, she slips their endless traps,
With sudden witcheries of motion,
Yet but a whisker away from death,
In his grim guise of coursing hounds,
Breath to breath, they break and turn,
Running her to ground, ravening for a kill.

Every snap of a jaw, howl and growl,
Erupts the cheering, clapping crowd,
Whisky warmed on a cold Galway morn,
For a winners purse on the turn of a paw,
Then with lungs afire, she explodes,
Turning to the west, lightning swift
With twists to trick their trips and kills,
She spurts the soil, jinking hard,
Showing her heels to the hounds,
Who are forced finally to relent,
To bow their heads, and tired pant,
Beaten, and all their passions spent,
As with a final backward mocking glance,
She vanishes forever into the high dry grass.

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lormarie said...

There is something very symbolic about this poem. I kept thinking that the hare could symbolize women.

Defender of Liberty said...

The hare is the feminine that has been repressed in Catholic Irish history, the feminine spirit of the old gods such as Danu and Bridget who were once the Earth Goddesses.

The hare is also the poetic spirit, and the high grass the mind.

As she vanishes into the high grass of the imagination, the poem appears in her place - so she undergoes a metamorphosis as per Cerridwen and Taliesin.

The hare is a mystical animal, hence the witchery.

The crowd represents the male sexual desire, the dogs their angry sexual desire becoming a living form - and the hunt represents a sexual chase and the hare the virginity of a female.

If they cannot have her, they want to tear her apart - symbolising the sexual aggression of males.

Note that in the end she wins, the dogs exhausted, the lust of the crowd unsatiated.

She turns with a mocking glance at the man, the dogs and the crowd - for she is cleverer and stronger than them all.




lormarie said...

That's exactly how I interpreted it, the hare=women while the dogs=lustful men. But I didn't want to say just in case I was wrong. Don't want anyone questioning whether or not I had a dirty mind.

Lastly, I've been well as I hope you have been.

Defender of Liberty said...

Hi Lormaire,

You havent got the dirty mind, I have !!!

Whilst we are discussing poetry have you ever heard of the Black American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar ;

I love his work, he has such fantastic imagery and beautiful rhymes.

He died when he was only 35 - what a loss to the world.

He should be far more famous than he is.



This is one of my favourite ones by him ;

The Seedling.

AS a quiet little seedling
Lay within its darksome bed,
To itself it fell a-talking,
And this is what it said:

"I am not so very robust,
But I 'll do the best I can;"
And the seedling from that moment
Its work of life began.

So it pushed a little leaflet
Up into the light of day,
To examine the surroundings
And show the rest the way.

The leaflet liked the prospect,
So it called its brother, Stem;
Then two other leaflets heard it,
And quickly followed them.

To be sure, the haste and hurry
Made the seedling sweat and pant;
But almost before it knew it
It found itself a plant.

The sunshine poured upon it,
And the clouds they gave a shower;
And the little plant kept growing
Till it found itself a flower.

Little folks, be like the seedling,
Always do the best you can;
Every child must share life's labor
Just as well as every man.

And the sun and showers will help you
Through the lonesome, struggling hours,
Till you raise to light and beauty
Virtue's fair, unfading flowers.

lormarie said...

Langston Hughes had some pretty good stuff as well. Believe it or not, I've always found poetry to be rather difficult (example, 'Look at this' by EE Cummings). Rudyard Kipling's White Man's Burden struck a nerve with me big time. Right now, I'm exploring the writings various women of color (and lack thereof, LOL).