Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Wild Hunt

 Edin Chavez



The Wild Hunt



All the day I ran
to catch you
outsmart you
outrun the rattling feet 
disappeared in the dark,
flown before me.

Crouched in the thicket panting
watching,
learning your ways;
where you are hard and canny,
where a sudden strike might find
the heart.

Under the standing sun
and under
 the dying moon I tracked you,
nosed your faint spoor till I dropped on the rocks,
hot with the calling of the blood, hearing
fever chattering its teeth in the empty night.

Down
in the village a dead woman lies—
so you’ve been this way
noiseless and gone.
In the torchlight her face at last unfocused
seems to smile.

Must I avenge her
 now she's free,
though she was the enemy?
though you and she
are neither real,
live nor dead,

but only running shadows 
where some hellhound passed me
on the grassy hillside hiding.



November 1987



Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub
 

This is an old poem, written in my late thirties, very lightly revised, originally posted back when I first started blogging here at Verse Escape. Forgive me for all these oldies--I'll hopefully have wrestled some of my current victims into submission by next week.



Photo Courtesy of Edin Chavez
Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved

53 comments:

  1. This is a lot of fun, exceptionally well written, and not without a bit of haunting mystery at the end. Excellent.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I commented before, so I'll simply say that this remains one of my five favorites of yours. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. haunting piece hedge...it defame leaves a bit to be interpretted...but can relate to the hunting and in my mind the hunted probably wounded you as well...and left a trail of smiling bodies in his wake...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Direct, compelling. Hits a mythic note, too, for me. You manage to maintain the poetry from first to last. Very nice work. I think it's worth bringing out the oldies but goodies...And this is a goodie.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry to double up...read to hear you're making progress. Full strength soon, I hope.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Do you ever read some of your old writings, hedgewitch, and feel as if you're reading something unfamiliar? Just curious.

    This poem flowed so beautifully and though the subject matter might seem dark, you infuse it with a trace of mysticism that transports it to other places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, actually I do sometimes, Talon. This piece, no, though--I remember the feelings in it vividly. Don't know if that's good or bad. ;-) Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  7. Love this one, especially its perfect closing lines. Wow.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The Wild Hunt always fills me with awe: the image of the huntsmen riding across the sky, ferocious and merciless. I am so glad I got to read this poem, because it captures that feral mood so well.

    I also love love a yellow daffodil in the spring-time :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kerry. Yes, that image is one that connects across centuries to our own primal instincts and fears, I think. Glad you liked. (And Spellbinder is one of my favorite daffodils--it has a chartreuse tinge to it that my limited camera skills don't quite capture and naturalizes well here.) Looking forward to the next prompt at real toads.

      Delete
  9. Yes, I love this. Hope you are recovering from your fall.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nice job pulling this atmosphere off, it's hard to do. Really like the last two stanzas a lot, and there's a few great lines in the middle, i.e dying moon I tracked you. Going back to older work is always both a dread and a thrill for me, bringing back pleasant memories and yes, at times, at least for me, you get some that make you want to pull out the red pen-lol But in any case going back is always a great way to gauge one's progress. and often times I've found a minor tweak or two is all the revision that is needed. Really cool piece Hedge, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a compulsive revisionist with my current stuff--my old stuff I mostly just say 'it is what it is' because when I rewrite it much I change the whole poem into something else. But I do usually tweak a bit, change a word or awkward phrase--also, I can't stand to use a word twice in a poem any more unless intentionally--weird but o well. ;-) Thanks for reading, Fred.

      Delete
  11. the stanza about the standing sun and the dying moon just swept me away and it feels like drifting somewhere beyond now. quite magical your verses are, speaking to the heart and mind, unravelling something forgotten yet existing on a deeper level.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your bonus quote from HIllman further down says it all -- "The soul sees by means of affliction." Pathos and pathology are common spikes in your work, and a reader who wasn't aware of how you use the soul's torment to write down and through things might admonish you to give someone else the key to the gun cabinet ... It's great to read foundation poems like this, experiencing the stuff all your present agonies and ecstasies are built on: The Wild Hunt's a big 'un, to be sure, the speaker here tracking the spoor of it through the deep night of the heart. How often we've heard its footsteps through your later work, identified so variously as killing spirit and old ones and the internal paramour. Well, as Hillman would say, all of it's digestion, not quite as wild and wide as the dream, but damn close. How important it is, I think, that the speaker knows her vantage, else the Hunt become madness or some other self-destructive torture. Thanks for posting it here again, and gods speed the burning acres of your hands. - Brendan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks for your insights--you're quite right about the foundation aspect. The Wild Hunt was a cursed thing to see, still more to be drawn into--(surely the inspiration in the psyche for things like the Flying Dutchman and those Ghost Riders 'chasing down the devil's herd across these endless skies...') but some of us are just there when it passes overhead, moonlings staring up fascinated by the mysteries in the darkness. Lots of power in ritual, in the idea of a curse to avoid or break, and that sometimes there are things that need to be destroyed. Thanks for reading, B.

      Delete
  13. This poem captures motion, imagery and draws the reader right along. I really enjoyed that fearful jaunt. Image is perfect for this! Smiles~Hannah

    ReplyDelete
  14. what i love most in your poetry is the intensity...you never go lukewarm...same here...was spellbound by the hunt, shocked by the dead woman..trying to think different ways..excellent hedge

    ReplyDelete
  15. It is interesting to see how a poet's style shifts over the years. A definite difference between this and now. Great poetry. I think I need to read this another five times or more before commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love the contrast of the standing sun and the dying moon. Both standing and dying become part of the hunt. Vivid and memorable!

    ReplyDelete
  17. hey hedge - this is a pulse racer, nice to have a bit of excitement... It's a bit of a thriller - well drawn details give it some affecting liveliness and momentum: all the thrill of the chase - excellent pace delivers the goods :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Always happy to provide the cheap thrills--and free is as cheap as it gets. ;_) Thanks, Arron--yours tonight was monumental.

      Delete
  18. I imagined a cat and mouse chase and then something much darker.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well I am new to your work and so this is a new piece for me--Loved it--a dark hunt of exquisite energy and flow--Thank you and hope you are doing well--

    ReplyDelete
  20. This line haunts:
    noiseless and gone

    Beautifully done.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The Wild Hunt...certainly harkens back to ye olden times Joy...and I can say, I found your poem most interesting...wanted to take out my Fairport Convention CD to listen to during the 2nd reading.

    Enjoyed it all, especially,

    "though you and she
    are neither real,
    live nor dead..."

    Roger ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love Fairport Convention--they'd sound pretty good as the background here, too. Thanks Roger.

      Delete
  22. A little hellcat chasing a hellhound...how apropos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *mraeow*

      hellhounds seem to have the best catnip, don't they?

      Delete
  23. Oldie but goodie, nice one!

    ReplyDelete
  24. wild hunt indeed! love the ending especially, and the undertones throughout.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Okay, I am always so ready to be blown away each time I see one of your poems here. This time I am way blown away. You have simply created an imaginitive landscape filled such mystery and profound detail, that I am quite literally there with subject of the poem. I have a real feeling of passion, lust, will power, profound love and hatred. This is a world that surely lives only in the imagination but it's nonetheless real for that. In fact, maybe it's more real for that very reason. For there's the aura of those dreams that are so real, you feel like you've entered an alternative reality. This poem has all of that depth and impending meaning whose import is never fully grasped by reason, but that reason cannot just dismiss as empty fantasy either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Charles--the imagination is where it all happens, really, yes?

      Delete
  26. Hi Joy--The poem is new to me (and even if it were not, well worth many revisits). You have such a gift for vivid subject matter that is somewhat separate from the ordinary human voice (and yet parallels it too.) Only words I can think of for this one--very cool. K.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, K. probably ordinary enough, just the dark side of that voice, I'm afraid.

      Delete
  27. Forgive you? I wouldn't have missed this one for the world. god, you have always been brilliant, that is easy to tell from this. I love it, hedge, and these lines are with me forever:

    Under the standing sun
    and under
    the dying moon I tracked you,

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm wildly hunting for the Hillman quote Brendan mentioned, but oh well. I appreciate his commentary much, and the roots of your poetic soul here in your potent poem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's on the sidebar, Ruth, as you scroll down the page, just above the tag cloud. Yes, Brendan's insight here is spot on. Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  29. Someone above said this had a mythic quality, and that's how it strikes me too. Your closing lines really clinched it.

    ReplyDelete
  30. you always evoke such brilliant imagery, this piece no exception. hunting the hunter within the question of the path carried a wonderful metaphor to our own duality within me. Lovely ~ Rose

    ReplyDelete
  31. For me the imagery here speaks of many lines still to come and many lives still to be lived. Please post more of your earlier poems, they will help me to appreciate the growth and blossoming of your talent. Thanks for sharing someting from your past.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Don't you dare apologize! This poem is packed with a frenetic energy that carries it well and through the entire reading.

    I love this, Hedge, and it's good to see the earlier poet in you...we can see the genesis and the development. This is not to be belittled.

    A wonderful, straight-forward gallop...with your sticking mysteries!

    Lady Nyo

    ReplyDelete
  33. surreal and haunting. wonderful imagery throughout. really

    last stanza really stands out for me--

    but only running shadows
    where some hellhound passed me
    on the grassy hillside hiding.


    well penned -- C.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I am happy you reposted this Hedge. This is quite a ride into the madness of the hunt ~

    I hope you are feeling better ~

    ReplyDelete
  35. If your reposts are treasures like these, then please keep reposting! I love this!

    ReplyDelete
  36. okay..... so this is my second favorite of your poems! your words are rough diamonds {no, i don't mean diamonds in the rough} that sparkle unexpectedly and blind if looked at directly for too long.

    brilliant!!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. This Made me think metaphorically. It made me think about 'the hunt' being something deep within- was in- we are all hunted by our demons, our pasts, traits about ourselves that we know and don't like... And for me- it was all summed up in that powerful last stanza- the hellhound- the dog embodying all of these things. I love the way your words challenge me- I'm sure there are many representations and meAnings that could be gleamed here- and that's why your work is so special

    ReplyDelete
  38. I have to echo Stu's comment. As I read, I reached below the surface of the fantastic imagery and felt that primal being that resides in each of us. Fantastic work. I should read your early poetry more often.

    ReplyDelete
  39. "Must I avenge her
    now she's free,
    though she was the enemy?"

    I love that.

    ReplyDelete
  40. the hunt has movement, a wild thrill.

    ReplyDelete

'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg