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An Ancient Stag


Composed by John Henderson on 5th May, 2006

A stag's form was etched on the darkening sky,
As he stood there alert to all dangers nearby.
His soft nose kept twitching, his ears played due part,
But his eyes nigh unblinking hid sadness at heart.

His old age was revealed on a hide scarred and white,
And the clear signs of rutting from many a fight.
His thin legs and haunches looked too feeble to bear
The great mane and sharp antlers held haughtily there.

He posed stiff and silent, looked around and below.
Though no longer a giant with wild oats to sow.
But though mere ghost of past-self, and a leader no more,
He was as alert and suspicious as he had been of yore.

The hunter who watched from his nest in the heather,
Found himself thus embroiled on the horns of a dilemma.
Should he spare this old beast more frustration and pain.
Or allow him to linger with so little to gain?

But a change in the wind soon resolved this debate,
As the old stager's nose sensed the stalker in wait.
Thus with shrill cries of warning he swept off the stage,
At a speed quite amazing for an ancient his age.


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