A Calendar of Hares

for Valerie Gillies

1. At the raw end of winter
the mountain is half snow, half
dun grass. Only when snow
moves does it become a hare.

2. If you can catch a hare
and look into its eye,
you will see the whole world.

3. That day in March
watching two hares boxing
at the field’s edge, she felt
the child quicken.

4. It is certain Midas never saw a hare
or he would not have lusted after gold.

5. When the buzzard wheels
like a slow kite overhead
the hare pays out the string.

6. The man who tells you
he has thought of everything
has forgotten the hare.

7. The hare’s form, warm yet empty.
Stumbling upon it, he felt his heart
lurch and race beneath his ribs.

8. Beset by fears, she became
the hare who hears
the mowers’ voices growing louder.

9. Light as the moon’s path over the sea,
the run of the hare over the land.

10. The birchwood a dapple
of fallen gold: a carved hare
lies in a Pictish hoard.

11. Waking to the cry of a hare
she ran and found the child sleeping.

12. November stiffens
into December: hare and grass
have grown a thick coat of frost.

A Secret History of Rhubarb (Glasgow: Mariscat, 2004)

A Calendar of Hares was featured on the Scottish Poetry Library website in 2005.

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