16 December 2013

A Waterman's Wood Guest Post

The author of A Waterman's Woods who is a member of the BushCraft USA forums where I also posted the wolf hunt, chronicled it and turned it into a poem. Not a poet myself so I was rather amazed at what he was able to do with it.

Well done friend!

The Wolf Hunt

The boreal has its own ways
Beauty that can break a man
Or help one to find himself
Among the wilds unchained and alive

It is depths of green unseen
Almost singing in the sunlight and breezes
Summertime scents of Labrador tea
Brewing in the warm air of splendor

Of damp leaves upon the earth
Among beds of luxurious sphagnum
Soft as a bed of pillows in every direction
Spring back resilient with every silent step

For the mosses are the friends of trackers
Quiet when in the tension of pursuit
Senses heightened in the brilliance
That the boreal autumn delivers with pride

Rust reds and flames so bright
They blind the eyes with fiery spectrums
Leaving all who pass through
Unable to wonder of a grander time

When the summer rains wash away
And the autumnal ruins are chilled throughout
And the snow bound flurries blow once again
A silence falls upon the land

The forest scents escape the wilds
No pungence of understory
No piney wafts of spruce
Just the crispness of cold clean air

And of the woodsmoke of the hunter's camp
A warm sanctuary of slow cooked meals
Wafting along with anticipation on the air
As the wolfs howl among the ridge tops

Singing more like it
Haunting songs for communal pack gatherings
Lamenting in the grayness of the wild
Roaming woods ghosts of the north

Where one ghost will fall
If the hunter finds his way
For among the snow and ice
Even apparitions leave a trail

Some signs faint as wisps through the trees
Some prints deep in the ice
Some vanish into nothing
Leaving the hunter to his wits

Wits that sometimes fray at the edges
As he is constantly reminded
That the boreal has its own ways
And that man is not often one with nature

Quickened pace footsteps are heard
Plodding through the light snow
Footsteps not from afar
But muffled by the hunter's deepening breaths

Legs once numbed from the frigid waters
Of falling through the beaver pond's icy roof
Now churning their way back to camp
Bearing the hunter's capacity to withstand

To withstand the frozen north
To withstand sighted prey out of range
To withstand the waves and tremors
Of anticipations gone wrong

Thoughts of rifle fire amidst the treeline
Fade now to woodstove warmth
Relishing hot brewed coffee and comfort
In the heated canvas tent of old

For the second day is done
And the hunter's trove contains no fur
But a treasure of stories to be told
And the morning will bring another try

Another attempt in the gray light
That has lingered long above the trees
Casting the flatness that forbids shadow
And hides much in the mist

The morning of the third day brought these familiar
Ominous gray clouds descending upon the woods
Strange beaver sign of hasty retreats
And ever increasing tracks of wolves

Cold, dreary trails in the ice
Paths heading into deep woods snarings
Brambles in the tangling thickets
And trees that seem to enclose at will

Another uneasy feeling sets in
Have the wolves now set their trap
Has the hunter become the hunted
In this unforgiving gray of the timber lands

With these woods tokens held close
The hunter heads back to the noontime camp
Passing under the watchful eyes
Of phantoms perched in the mists

Back at camp he gathers his thoughts
Over smoked ham and eggs
Fried up right along with coffee
Black as looking down the rifle's barrel

Then back out into the fray
Of dropping temps and darkening skies
To the stillness of the beaver valley
Where the hunter's callings are emptied windward

For time alone in the bush
Brings thoughts of old and folded
Tucked away and kept safe from ruin
But laying just beneath the surface

Reasonings and ramblings
Of backwoods trampings long told
Bearings and pitfalls along the paths
Aged grooves upon the stones

Forms and function flowing together
Senses and sinews connecting eternal
Utterings felt deep in the marrow
Below currents coursing heavily throughout

Thoughts laid upon the rough hewn table
Play across the hunter's mind
Like waters finding their way
With patience they will overcome

As the rivulets form through time
And trickles become strong flowing streams
Springs well up in the rocks
To form new points of new beginnings

Creekbeds gathering in the valleys
Their courses altered and spread
Across the lands dammed by beaver
And push the forest to the water's edge

These edges call the wolves
With summons of migrations
And of hunting circuits spiraling outward
Like rings upon the pond

Now the hunter summons in the cold night air
Conjuring spirits above the firelight
Shamans in the sparks rising beneath the clouds
With ancient spells for wolves again

And as those spells mingled above
The darkening clouds took hold of them
Swirled them about inside and around
Until they could travel on the wind no more

Instead they gathered energy within
And released their fury upon the land
With great joy they called the hard blowing wind
And snowfall of great abundance

A storm to hinder the hunter's quest
Though his heart is good and strong
For he laughed at what was brought upon
And ventured deeper amongst the wilds

When at last the tracks were covered
No sign of wolf nor bird upon its perch
The hunter turns towards home at last
But not without some other quarries first

For it is not the end result that matters
But the journey along the way
Sights, sounds, and stories to tell
Go home with the hunter to stay


  1. Wow. I especially liked the way the he portrayed the Owl.

  2. Thank you both for the kind words. Good luck Grouch on your future adventures. It's a joy to read such a gripping story as you've told.