Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Sheepdog's Revenge

"I was desired to raise and hold the platform on its central balance, whilst he [...] threw a noose over the neck of one of the Wolves. We hauled it up motionless with fright, as if dead, its disabled legs swinging to and fro [....] Letting him drop to the ground, the farmer left him to the dogs [...] on which the curs rushed upon it, and satiated their vengeance on the destroyer of their master's flock."
~ John Audubon, "Pitting of the Wolves," Collected in Nature Writing: The Tradition in English.

Oh wolfie! I hate ta’ see the form o’ yee
On grassy rainy quilted lea.
Throo’ nights o' dense mystiferous fog
Ah stan’ guard here, this ol’ sheep dog.
Ah hate ye, wolf, Ah ken ye’ would,
Given ‘arf a chance, eat all me brood!
An’ thro’ slavering jaws ye would ha’ done
Wi’ ewes and rams and li’ll wee ‘uns
And drinking up yon sheeplings dear
Ye would belike cause many a’ tear.

But aye, tonight ye won’t sneak past
Nor make o’ sheepies yer grim repast
For marster’s set a trap for ye!
Ta stop ye from attarckin' me
One step upon yon forest floor
And ye’ll be springing yon trap door.
So come if ye dare, Ah whisper ta ye
An' stare at yer form all shadowawy
But ye look unsure, tho’ surely yet
Ye hunger ta’ taste old marster’s pet!
Come take a bite, wolfie, oh here’s a slice
O’ sheepdog rump, oh, don’t think twice!
And after more tauntin’ o' yon wolfie,
She springs ta’ life and approacheth me
And sure as all, she trips the wire
And down she plunges!—ta’ expire—
No wait, no’ yet!  She still dra’s breeth
Though confined and buried thar beneath
Ah hear her keening in the ditch
Where marster’s trap ‘as caught th’ bitch!
Ah go ta’ stare doon at th’ form
O’ prideful wolf now aw’ forlorn
And keening now—she who war so brave!
Now Ah’m the marster, she th’ slave!
In triumph Ah see that wolfie’s feet
Are broken, an’ confined to ‘er seat
And whimp’ring, she nurses yon twisted paw
Whare bone brake thro’ skin after th’ faw'.
An’ here comes marster, wi’ rope and hook
And fro’ the pit of punishments ‘ee took
This wolfie mass o’ broken limbs—
An’ then revengeful ‘ooman whim
Puts on ‘is face a narsty grin
And he asks o’ me ta commit a sin
‘Gainst Dog and man—to take a bite
From yonder twisted piteous sight!
Ah bark ta’ marster that Ah won’t live
Ta’ kill ma' feral relative
But martser reminds me o’ yon sheeps
An’ how “what ye sows is what ye reaps”
An’ how wolf deserves this croo-well fate
Tween ma’ sharp teeth in blooudy pate
 And thinking on justice’s harsh deman’s
Ah ignore ma conscience for a man’s
And bitin' in, Ah see blood red
An’ she hoowled an’ kicked—and then fell dead.


Oh wolfie! Forgive me, I should ha’ kenned
That ye’ pro’ly ha’ wee uns back at the den
All starved and wond’ring whar mum is
She won’t be comin’ back me kids!
Oh wolfie, Ah thought ye were th' one
Whom Ah was called to save sheep from
But warse by far than yer slaverin’ jaws
Are man and God’s insufferportable laws
Which ask a dog to kill ‘is fellow critter
And starve inso doing ‘er li’ll wolf litter!
Jus' because she ward captured on suspish’un
O’ doin’ what dog or man would do in ‘er position!
Oh wolfie, Ah dinnae ken why we waste the time
On poonishments which are theymselves a crime
Wee wolfie cubs, Ah hope ye will fargive
A crime Ah dun so sheep may live.

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