Deerhound

There are no deerhounds in Wales—
Or perhaps one; in Cardiff, loping
On an elegant lead in Llandaff Fields,
Exotic in Queen Street, posing
For photographs. But there are
No true deerhounds. Our fat corgis
Sit irritably in English country houses,
Our loyal collies starve
Behind the doors of roadless farms.
We parade our terriers. Square
And bristling, the brisk wire-
haired fox terrier, the Welsh terrier
Indigenous black and tan, thin
Scars on head and legs, like a collier,
We like these dogs. I knew one
Curl herself over a drunk man’s heart
On a moor filling with blizzard.
They grin at death with their teeth.
I would have a deerhound colored
Slippery as charcoal, running
Tactfully at the edge of eyesight,
Soft as dust after his great quarry.
Once, back of the ruined hills, I saw
A fabulous hare living on grass
Too small for sheep, thrusting
Through coal-spoil. He leapt
In my sleep for months.
With such small deer my hound
Would not soil his slobber.
In darkness, on the edge of terror,
He would run loose, he would run loose and
Noiseless. Black as nightfur, kicking
Into the black, what antlered
Game he would rip at, what
Terrible beasts drag back
Alive for my keeping.