Just after rain and a long way from town
it felt good to be out in the cool, dean air.
It was three years ago — a winter's afternoon,
with the dog at heel and the last glare
of sun slanting across the flat.
Mud sucked at our boots and each soggy step
left a dark pool. Ahead of us were some long
flat fingers of water. Occasionally we'd stop
and keen our hearing for that eccentric song:
ducks quacking. I seem to recall that
we crossed a small creek then as we stalked.
I carried my gun like a hunter, or like
I figured a hunter would. We barely talked
as we tramped onwards. I stopped for a leak.
Then Gil sensed something, paused, tilted his hat
and pointed to a ridge up ahead. We heard the sound
of wings beating and flapping on water.
We advanced, stooping behind the ridge's mound.
We tried to get in close to have a better
chance of taking them with our first shot.
But before we were ready two ducks flew out
and up from the dam beyond. We stood, aimed
and fired. The dog, barking, charged about
while we fired again. The ducks climbed
quickly, craning their necks in flight.
They wheeled, pointed west and flew
towards the hills where the sun had now set.
It was getting chilly and the last glow
of daylight was quickly draining. We were wet
to the knees, cold and had just about had it.
Missing the ducks hadn't really mattered.
It was enough to be out in that crisp air
and to feel, for a while, unfettered.
The stars were coming out everywhere
as we headed home in the last dregs of light.
by Phil Brown
... and more Poetry ...
Copyright © Phil Brown