A walk to the hill, with the gun, in the chill
The woodcock moon hangs upon high.
No leaf on the bough, light frost on the plough
Skeins of pinkfoot and greylag pass by.
Climbing up to the crest, to where view is best
A small silhouette catches the eye.
The stance of a hare, simply standing to stare,
At the whole of the moon in the sky.
Long ears laying, paws raised as if praying,
The puss is just gazing in awe.
She seems in a trance as she watches the dance,
Of moon shimmer over the tor.
The moongazers stare is a wonder I share,
As I stoop on the slope, gazing too.
And when with a frown, I scan the hills crown,
And note there are visitors, new
Seven hares in a row, now scan the moonglow.
Seven moonwatchers? What does this mean?
Then the creep of the cloud puts the moon under shroud,
And the hares are all standing unseen.
I toil to the crown, with the clouds breaking down,
And I wait for my eyes to attune.
But where there were hare, seven cronies now stare.
Seven hags, waving arms at the moon.
Seven witches now sway, under silver and grey.
Tis’ true then? The old country lore!
Yet as soon as I’ve seen, the cloud casts a screen
And the moon is shining no more.
As I turn for the field, the clouds once more yield,
And the shapes of the witches reveal.
Seven witches in cloaks, now show as bare oaks
Under a full moon as silver as steel.
Later, down at the brook, when I glanced up to look,
There was nothing on top of the tor?
The oaks don’t exist, up so high in the mist
Those witches had fooled me, once more.
Copyright Ian Barnett, Wildscribbler, December 2019