Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound
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FHL WEEK, Sept. 13, 2022

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Crossing the Country to Help our Huntsman Exercise Hounds

Literature

windshield scene1

Our horses in the gooseneck,
We’re in this capsule of a truck cab
Headlights probing thick fog, hurtling through time
And space between white and double yellow lines.
Good way to hit a deer, he says. They move around
this time of morning.

Bulldozers decorate a field like toys left out all night.
Cows are chocolate drops.
Creeks and ponds rise white with dreams,
Warmer than the air. Should be scent this morning.
Though we both know there’s no for sure with scent
Until hounds try.

If I say the green and gold-streaked fields seem
Painted with a palette knife, he would say
Looks like half-dried soybeans to me.
We sit quiet as couples at paper placemats
Who pass the salt in silence, know to set
The shaker down for luck.

I watch familiar slide by unfamiliar in this fog.
Not as quiet as it looks on a Sunday morning 6:00 AM,
Radio praising Jesus as my savior, you take him too.
Hauling horses across the county
To help exercise West Loudoun hounds,
His right hand resting on his right thigh
Fingers spread, the way he sits to drive or ride
While I look out for deer.

Posted July 21, 2022

This poem harks back to when Bay Cockburn hunted the Loudoun West Hounds (VA) and the poet and her husband Vaughn Clatterbuck, farmer, whipper-in, Field Master, drove through early morning darkness to help exercise hounds. Hawken’s most recent book of poems, Stride for Stride: A Country Life, is available directly from her.

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