Sloshing round the bay road
through the foot-deep potholes,
glorying in the rain-lashed dark
as the wind made the phone-lines sing
I saw him. Brown, dishevelled, shivering -
a leveret, bamboozled by torchlight
diminished in his dripping fur,
wild eyes wide and startled.
Trying to leap aside, he caught the fence,
rebounded, tried again,
landing this time in a muddy sheuch,
a wired brown ball of panic.
"You'll not last long in this, wee man,"
I muttered, scooping him up,
dropping him into the deep dark pocket
of my raincoat.
Home we went, where two boys waited.
I quickened my pace, eager
to be the father bearing surprises,
to widen the cast-list of this adventure.
We dried him off, the boys enchanted.
He unfolded. He raised his head.
He bounded round the kitchen
on impossible elastic legs.
"Let's call him Charlie!" cried Robin,
and we did.
Charlie the Hare.
Alien, crazy, impatient.
When the rain eased
and Charlie was dry,
I put him back in my pocket
for the journey round the bay.
The last I saw of him
he was bounding out of sight
indifferent to the interlude
engaged in other things.
Those wild eyes that looked beyond
had no place in a cosy kitchen
this was no pet, no human companion
there was no understanding
But every time we see a hare,
the boys say, "I wonder if that's Charlie!"
and it glows against the backdrop
of nature's unfathomable canvas.