On the Trail: Poetry by Barry Clegg


On the Trail
We’d like to pass unnoticed, leave no mark,
when we are walking on the trail:
but creatures flee, inspect, or hide,
as step by step we blunder through their lives.
Half-seen birds on whirring wings explode,
escaping us with frantic calls.
Contrary mosquitoes whine, flies bump
our heads in clumsy greed.
With threatening castanets a rattlesnake
attracts the ear, then eye. In cold coils
taut with menace
it holds its ground.
The probing heron stretched across the sky
with firm intent flaps forward, flaps.
We inching along our insignificant route
are not of the least concern.
A porcupine squats privily behind
a kindred thistle. Discovered –
impregnable and unafraid –
it lumbers off.
The hungry focused hawk in dreadful draughts
drifts, conserving strength, scanning below.
Rabbits with nervous twitch, somehow aware,
freeze in the too bright sun, then… underground.
Bullocks lurch through a field toward us,
investigate with muddy-water eyes
and lowered heads, till some precise
instinct makes them turn and charge away.
At a flower’s bell the hummingbird
denying weight and wingless sips:
in a sudden iridescent streak
it darts from sight.
Another hiker approaches on the trail:
there’s no surprise response. We smile,
on equal ground
at last.

For information about Barry’s poems and books, email barry.clegg@sympatico.ca.

Another of Barry’s poems called “Good Nature” can be found under Friends of Miles: October 2015

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