The Hitching Stone
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Creatures Great and Small

Encounters with all Manner of Fabulous Beasts

Blues for Bunny
designed you to run free.
Threading the hawthorn hedge and
crossing the open field like an olympic sprinter
into the burrow's womb-like gloom.
were born a prisoner.
Sentenced to life in a four foot cell
you have no need for lightening speed
or ears that hear a wing beat.
Your all round vision only confirms
the totality of your cage.
you will never know
the burning pains of hunger or the stab of fear;
the smell of dawn in a summer meadow when
the blackbird sings for joy.
I could
set you free right now
and by that kindness I would surely kill you
by cold, starvation or the stoat's sharp tooth.
You believe
that I am free
because you cannot see the bars of contract and covenant
and the chains that I have made from obligations.
I shall not be in the meadow to hear the blackbird sing
at dawn tomorrow.
My cage
is no less strong than yours
and just like you ometimes I pace the floor
and dream of freedom.
But I can no more hunt or set a snare
than you could dig a burrow
to live through the freezing night.
Both prisoners
we accept our cells
because they also keep us fed and warm.
We shall not die of freedom,
you and I.

Walking with Sophie (The Short Sighted Spaniel)
Sophie says that walking is good for the heart;
I ask if it cures broken ones?
She bites my heels, maintains she doesn't know.
This week she ate a book on Zen
and claims she sees the world through different eyes.
The weather though is foggy like before.
Striving for more you loose the things you have;
chasing a reflection in a pool she drops her stick.
To illustrate the point.
But what of lonliness and loss I say,
and love that took yet could not seem to give?
Sophie tells me that conditional love is no love at all.
To prove it she steals my sandwich
and runs off up the hill.
Short sighted or no, she sees much more than me.
The Barguest
Don't turn around.
his black paws on the cobbles make no sound
but you can feel the hot breath of the hound.
Your heart begins to pound.
He could be on you in a single bound;
only your shoes would be found.
Don't turn around

Even a Dog-Earred Dreamer Deserves a Sonnet
Gemma the spaniel snoozed in her chair
of the Famous Explorers Club in Mayfair.
In the warm afterglow of a double pink gin
on the deep buttoned leather she rested her chin.
She dreamed of people so wild and exotic
and of Princes and Pashas, dark and despotic.
how they welcomed her in to each palace on high
and bade her farewell with a long and sad sigh.
She dreamed of the mountains they crossed in the night,
surprised robbers and bandits and made them take flight.
How the people all loved her and begged her to stay
but she packed up her tents and went on her way.
And perhaps in those hills there's a small sacred place
where a strange local goddess has a soft furry face?
You go to other lovers in the night.
In early spring I see you sniff the air
and feel the warming soil beneath your hand.
You start to hear the dog fox bark at night;
I see the restlessnesss behind your eyes.
Late in the night I wake to find you gone
then furtively returning with the sun,
your hands and feet are wet and smeared with dirt.
Last night I heard a wounded creature scream
and felt the snare that bit into its flesh;
I found you gone and ran outside to see
you slipping back under the garden fence.
You go to other lovers in the night. I know.