‘Conies’, whispers Wisdom Smith, ‘require calm,
dawn craft and a down-wind’. ‘While my riming’,
murmurs John Clare, ‘obliges a simpler psalm:
I cannot sing for my breakfast when ravening’.
Both men flex their full shanks before kneeling.
They paw the grass aside, then slide askew
like stoats slinking sidelong toward their prey
before the wide mouths of the warren’s holes.
Rabbits rebound from a moor russet with molehills.
Bucks bite, dash, stamp, scrabble and scuffle.
Kittens suckle under dozing, sun-stunned does.
‘As if Heaven fell and Hell surfaced on the same acre’,
whistles the Gypsy, raising the rifle sight to his gaze
while chewing softly on the stalk of a wildflower.
~ David Morley
David Morley is a leading British poet, critic and ecologist. His latest collection of poems, ‘The Gypsy and the Poet’ (Carcanet, 2013), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. His selected poems are due to be published by Carcanet in 2015. In 1996, he founded the Warwick Writing Programme with Jeremy Treglown, and he is currently Head of the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick.
Editor’s Note: ‘Raptures’ appears in the Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014 anthology, and appears here with kind permission from the poet and the publisher.