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Night Queen

by Adrian Wylie 

Posted: 04 October 2005
Word Count: 174
Summary: One of several sightings. Also in prose as 'Puma', a winning entry in BBC Wildlife Magazine Nature Writer of the Year.

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Through the gate at four in the morning
Shines half-light from late-moon, early dawning,
The sudden stampede of a startled deer,
Warning: The Night-Queen defers to the Day-King.

Two patient old dogs, brothers for sure,
Look at their man, one raises a paw
And they walk on together, senses raw
With the unquiet scent from a foreign shore.

The three friends stop, stare and freeze
As under the dark of shivering trees
Rises slowly with a rustic's ease
A figure with a face like last year's leaves.

From under their feet, or nearer it seems
Ripples and bounds, copper and cream,
A cougar, a panther, a puma, a dream,
A fantasy wrapped in a sound-proof scream.

They see the man hoist a rain-stained pack
And amble off, unaware,stretching, back
To the newly indented with giant pads track
As the watchers hear a stout stick crack.

A Surrey Puma, the lost Beast of Bodmin,
Whatever it was has left the scene;
In grass we hide, trying to look green:
The Day-Kings defer to the Night-Queen.

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