Meltwater, Iceland

First Hunt

Snug furs on long winter days
Hunted by the young men
Prepared by the elders
Painstaking work with no complaints
Just smiles around the fire
Shadows dancing on toothless faces
Silhouettes against the cold blue sky
Twilight and the smell of bonfires
Beacons frown down from high hills
Smoked breath from deep warm hearts.

Sleepy safety from the Watchmen
The sea a black pool of dark sagas
Tonight he will dream of beasts
Tomorrow he will hunt to kill
The young men will guide him
Into the foreboding forest
To the din of the hounds
And the breaking voice of youth
Otherwise silence in the cold still
With a fleeting glimpse of sun.

He ran laughing over hidden tussocks
Struggling against the deep snow
He tripped face-down into meltwater
The taste was that of willow and moss
Fresh like the dawning day
He lifted his head and laughed
He gazed up at the gulls and mountains
A glimpse, an insight into life
A moment shared with the ancestors
The hunt would not wait for tomorrow.

© Severn Dwyer. 2015

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