Man in the Bush

Man in the Bush

I saw him move
his head
behind that green
bush.
I must wait until
he moves again.
The mist is rising,
soon the sun will
come, the cautious sun,
and probe with tentative
fingers into this sombre
undergrowth.
My gun is heavy to
hold,
and my arm is aching.
Man in the Bush,
does your arm ache
as you watch me?
These nettles here are
bejewelled with the
night dew.
And here brambles,
all strung with
liquid diamonds,
clutch at every move
I make.
I saw him move
again
behind the green
Elder Bush, green
with new born shoots.
The mist is risen now
and turned to rain,
soft rain.
My gun and hands
are one.
Are yours too, Man in
the Bush?
Why won’t he move?
This tree is my
protection,
pressed against
the roots I lie
and wait.
A pigeon
cried.
I think it was
a pigeon.
He moved again.
And now, with
stealthy hands,
he parts the greening
branches of the Elder.
I must not move.
Slowly his head,
in steel encasement
rises, gleaming with
the rain.
His face, pale and
haggard,
peers at me;
but I am not
seen;
this pine is my
protection.
Move my gun
slowly
O! so slowly
to the aim.
Stretching himself
yet crouching
he peers unseeing.
Watch his face,
white and muddied,
expressionless.
To the aim.
A crack!
Startled, a pigeon
blusters through the bushes.
A wisp of smoke
eddies in the damp
air.
He has rolled,
a sad bundle
amongst the Elder
branches, a huddled
lump,
with legs and arms
awry,
and the rain
glinting on his
helmet.
This is the first man
I have killed,
And blood, not
dew, bejewels
now the nettles,
rubies strung
on all the trembling
leaves.
And now, with
cautious fingers, the
sun peers amongst
the pillars of the
wood and sparkles
on the barrel of my
gun.
Sad Elder!
And sad the rubied nettle!
A thrush has sung.
It is the Morning.

DEREK BOGAERDE