‘- damn you,Angus
get away from that bloody fence!’
His dad, Billy, used to recognise his name when I yelled;
he was even capable of looking sheepish
(for a one tonne highland bull)
Angus Halfhorn is shameless,
moving between fenceposts.,
inserting his great head and lunging for some impossible titbit
at the furthest end of his reach.
I can watch the posts teeter and the wires sag
I charge down on the quad to hustle the giant vandal away from the damage,
now that he has learned the trick, he will delight in the exercise,
so that I might spend all next spring making good.
My afternoon ignores the polarities of containment
to focus on the hunter’s older priorities.
I am stalking – not by sight but by sound.
The mischief-making wind has departed
his empty sack over his shoulder
in search of replenishment out west
where the tides make landfall.
I follow in a quietness that makes my ears ring,
ideal for questing the presence of stags,
male red deer in rut,
roaring their might to the hills
and their rivals.
No sound – but a group of light coloured hinds in the bottom of the valley and with them one stag,
a big one more than able to hold high the weight of horn that proclaims his fitness to breed. He is deep chested with a dark mantle covering his shoulders, like a mink on a boxer.
There are two smaller stags making their way down the burn further up-
still no sound.
Catching him in the glass of the telescope I see him lift his head, laying his antlers along his back- and then – delayed but clear – I hear his voice.
The duration of the call tells the world how long his presence will remain to dominate these hills: the volume tells of the distances owned by the spreading shadow of sound.
This is an overlord fit to the hills,
not foutering with fences,
I must tell Angus.
A bit sheepish?