One Got Away in the Night

He stands on a hill. From under his cape of skins, a whorl of musk, a whiff of lanolin that has tipped towards the rancid.

Damp from dew, his wet wool. Heat under there, samovar hot. Grandfather smells, trapped. Gusts of cool as the cape flaps.

An unwashed pair of dogs lope ahead; in and among the spring blow flowers, the sheep. One got away in the night—offal steams in the crisp morning.


This little ekphrastic poem was inspired by Hungarian photographer Rudolph Balogh’s “Shepherd with his Dogs,” c. 1930 in Hortobágy, which you can view here in The Guardian:  https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2011/jun/30/hungarian-photography-exhibition-in-pictures?intcmp=239 . I may tinker with this poem from time to time. Just added “He stands on a hill.” Seemed like it needed it.

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