April 13: Animal (sestina)

Prey of the dark


Prey of the dark

Not only shadows lurk in the deep dark,
but also big cat politics at play:
growling and sleek, pure in subtle finesse,
from desert to jungle those big cats reign—
with spots and jaws to snap and claws to shred,
those wild cats mercilessly hunt their prey…

The minds of the little creatures of prey
are riddled with fear of what’s in the dark,
where shadows bark and single steps might shred—
this place does not tolerate languid play,
for in this space only the big cats reign:
they cannot digress too far from finesse.

Yet to hone themselves and master finesse,
those creatures of prey must stop being prey,
they must contrive to topple the cat’s reign
and defeat their fear of the deep and dark:
let shadows dapple and hunt turn to play,
so cats will only find darkness to shred…

Of the nest on high there is not a shred,
in the night someone stole it with finesse,
and though fowl and fauna learned how to play,
to someone out there they still remained prey:
lark song turns to owl’s hoot in the dark,
where the snakes slither and begin their reign…

Under the rule of a venomous reign,
neither toothy roar nor flight helps a shred—
sinew and hiss, snakes need not cloaks of dark,
for snakes have a secret, deadly finesse:
where all in the kingdom are the snake’s prey,
now the game has new rules by which to play…

Yet of hunters who choose this game to play,
no single predator can keep their reign,
after a time, even they become prey…
the hoarse gurgles of death slice the last shred
of dignity and their vaunted finesse,
and something new always lurks in the dark…

The soft coughs of the sly darkness at play
dabble with finesse in animals’ reigns—
though they shred, to darkness they… are the prey.


April 13, 2014

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