I’m wakened, drawn towards the ice-thin window,
to witness scenes as faint and still as death.
How bleak the moon; how bare the trees and meadows;
sky’s pale maw overhangs
Earth bleached beneath star fangs.
Night’s curled lip sneers on shadows
of mountains set like teeth.
Two bow waves shear the median of the valley,
iced hayfield yields as feral muscles glide–
hoarfrost disturbed by wakes of live torpedoes.
Grey shoulders breach and lope,
implode and telescope,
impelled by ruthless credos
of chilled and vicious pride.
The wolves tear savage furrows down the nightscape;
their eyes are shined with blood, their mission clear.
Grass springs back shocked to green behind their passage–
twin tracks traverse the vales,
cold comets trailing tails
leave scarred in frost their message:
the wolves, the wolves passed here.
John Beaton writes: “This describes a real incident on our acreage when I woke in the middle of a frosty night for no apparent reason and looked out the window. I was struck by the grace, power, and sense of danger the wolves evoked.
“The first three lines are pentameter and the endings alternate—feminine, masculine, feminine. The next four lines contract to trimeter to give a sense of speed and acceleration. Lines two and seven have a masculine rhyme that closes the stanza and ties its parts together. The overall rhyme-scheme is xabccba. My intent was to convey the power and motion of the wolves running and I built in alliteration and internal rhyme to help with this.”
John Beaton’s metrical poetry has been widely published and has won numerous awards. He recites from memory as a spoken word performer and is author of Leaving Camustianavaig published by Word Galaxy Press. Raised in the Scottish Highlands, John lives in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.