Not at my beck

Not at my beck
(sport from Stefan George)

It comes not at my beck,
my poem, but shyly hides,
a child with head askew
and bowed with eyes cast down,
arms tucked firmly close,
secure inside the shadowed
brain-recesses where
I cannot see, but vaguely
sense it there.

As with an animal,
a stranger cat or dog,
a mouse or even bird
I quietly squat or sit
no longer looming, and wait
with opened arms, or hand
palm up and just a little
reaching forward till
the child or beast is ready.

Knowing people say:
do not approach the beast
but wait for it to come.
The animal will freely
do so: a gingered step
or two, ever ready to
retreat; with head outstretched
and nostrils twitching it
will sniff the proffered hand
before that last step forward.

And then the work begins
gently to train the beast
or guide the child.

 

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