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Beeley Moor at ten thirty, on Sunday.   

A column of grey four by fours

Barbour and tweed in a huddle,  

Sausage and eggs and plus fours,

 

Top dogs! And so eager to show off   

Their bright eyes, the shine on their coats. 

The day may be cold and depressing,  

Their senses, wag-tailed and wet-nosed. 

 

The crack of a discharging shotgun,

The toss of  the heather-bound lure,

The straining of haunches, the release of the leash

If he finds it in time, he will score. 

 

A mobile olfactory sensor 

Scanning shark-like first this way, then that  

For a bean bag clad in green plastic

and the scent of the sweat of a hand.    

 

Buttoned up and tense with frustration,

She leans out above the dark lake,

And with vowels and gesticulation, 

She strains to correct his mistake.

 

A panic, a blank of confusion     

The reward, mislaid or ignored,

lies beneath the dull red rhododendron, 

Submerged, like her hopes of reward. 

 

And here where the bracken grows darker,

In the shade where the rain never falls,

The omega wins, not the alpha.

He’ll not think; he’ll just do as he’s told.   

 

 …  …  …  …  …  …  …  …  …  …

 

And when I asked my friend,

What drew him late to such pursuits,

he stroked a thoughtful chin..

‘It’s only to amuse,  I go on shoots,

And to compete.  I guess you’d say

I’m a dogless wonder; all bite and no bark!

 

 

                                                      The Bollard of Edensor

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