Nicole Yurcaba: White December

Lizzie Beacham

White December

Someday when I am older
and the white from many Decembers softly coats my hair,
I will sit on a wooden front porch, keepin’ time in my Granddaddy’s handmaderockin’ chair,
close my wizened eyes, smilin’ contentedly, as I recall gone-by days
when I was young, once, and as wild and as untamed as the West Virginiamountains which I once roamed,

runnin’ behind the woods-wise, all-knowin’, all-seein’ old-timers,
who ran behind their swift, unrelentin’ English hounds,
who ran hot after the woods-wise, all-knowin’ Ol’ Slewfoot.

And I will remember how we shrilly cried, “He’s treed! He’streed! Hot damn, boys! We got us a bear!”
and how our voices echoed through the below-zero late December air, intertwinin’ with the great hounds’ deep-throated music,
as we ran to and gathered at
the bottom of the mountain’s tallest oaks , minglin’ amidst the bayin’ hounds,couplin’ them  to our worn lead straps,
while the day’s designated shooter loaded their rifle, and sighted through thescope.
One trigger pull, and the quarry was slayed, the heavy-breathed pursuit over,and we posed for pictures
–the tired hounds, the thrilled old-timers, and me–
and, afterwards, we lounged against the icy rocks and cold-shaken trees,sippin’ shine from dented silver flasks.

And I will shed a tear from my old eyes as I recount those days gone-by to grandchildren,
who never ran through cold December’s woods,
behind the woods-wise, all-knowin’, all-seein’ old-timers
who ran behind their swift, unrelentin’ English hounds
that ran hot after the woods-wise, all-knowin’ Ol’ Slewfoot.
I will tell them what a wise old-timer years ago told me, when I was young,once, and as wild, as untamed as the West Virginia mountains in which I roamed:
“It used to be that when we couldn’t hear the hounds no more, we knew we weredone; the hunt was over.”
Someday when I am older,
and the white from many Decembers softly coats my hair,
I will sit on a wooden front porch, keepin’ time in my Granddaddy’s handmaderockin’ chair,
close my wizened eyes, smilin’ contentedly, and I hear the hounds no more
I will know that I am done.
I will know that the hunt is over.

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