Poem: ‘On the death of a wildcat’

Chris Scott-Wilson wrote this poem about his attachment to the Scottish wildcat.

 

On the death of a wildcat

 

Long before the age of men

A silent hunter stalked the glens

Unnamed.

She watched, with pale unblinking eyes,

The pathways spread and houses rise

And went her way,

Untamed.

 

Flint men

And painted men

Pitched their tents.

Romans

And Normans

Came and went.

She saw them pass

And she remained,

Indifferent.

 

King’s men,

The Bruce’s men

Did such deeds.

Steward’s men,

Young Charlie’s men

Prayed, ‘boat speed’.

She saw them come

And go, and paid

Them little heed.

 

Enlightened men,

Industrious men,

The wheel still turned:

While she remained

Unmoved,

Unchanged

And unconcerned.

 

And, somehow, in being aware:

Somehow, knowing she was there

The heart of every Scottish child

Held something special, something wild.

 

Beneath darkening skies

On a blasted heath

The old thing lies.

Her shallow breath

Scarce mists the air.

The proud neck bows.

The hooded eyes,

Unseeing, flutter closed.

A last breath sighs.

The last pulse fades

And dies.

 

The sun will rise

Hereafter.

But a different sun

Without the light in those pale eyes.

The wind still blows

The heather.

But a different wind

Unscented by her nose.

Breathless it cries

Across the wilderness

As a new emptiness

Fills with the buzz of flies.

 

And so a world ends.

Not even a whimper!

 

© Chris Scott-Wilson

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