One evening in my journey into the Rewilding Path I found myself in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, at a poetry reading, and I was asked if I had any poems to offer. This is a poem exploring the collision between human technology and infrastructure and the lives and environment of the natural world.
Death of a Jack-Rabbit
Driving late night, or early morning, the long-distance thrum of
Soporific rhythm, high speed with heavy metal reassurance,
And warm in the comfort of the coming day, gently I
Rounded a rise, when suddenly in front of me weaving,
Crazy hip-hop drunken Jack Rabbit heaving,
A macabre flip-flop breakdance in the middle of my road.
Split-second that I saw him so, long, fatal ears
Flattened in a dervish-like, death-accepting run,
Time stretched, pulsated, for the killer and the killed;
In those long and anguished, torturous moments, I was the hare; the hare was I.
I knew the horror and the pity of the death to come, and felt
The cord of will tying me to him, and I, being he, futile in my fumbling run.
There seemed ample time to think – back in my own mind now – and I willed him to lie still;
Lie still, lie flat: don’t jump, to jump is certain death –
O let the body of the car hurtle bloodless over;
Yet I knew the hare would jump, would spring, and the death that leap would bring.
I could not swerve; I had been taught.
Time snapped elastic back with a muffled, heavy clunk – an unreasonable solidity
For a hare, too heavy, the over-heavy weight of inevitability.
Was its an instant death? I think it was, all vital force crushed,
A bone-mashing instant extinguishing
Of everything that had been, once, sprung and coiled hare.
There is no comfort in trying to rationalise its death, and I will not say:
I killed a jack-rabbit on the road.
What I killed was greater, deeper, and when I ripped the body of the hare,
And unnerved my own mind, fleetingly the fabric of the world lay bare, exposed,
And I caught the merest glimpse of our connected soul.