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WOUNDED, NOT YET DEAD

Late afternoon.
The Greeks and Trojans scuffle in the dust.
The battle slips away to leave the plain
Dead dust beneath the sun.
A thing not death, not quite, though not quite life,
Gropes for its name.
Light is a stick which beats and stabs and hurts him.
Wings baffle down to the dust.
Claws trundle as his daze
Mouths air, mouths blood
To swallow a cough.
His focus sharpens
On a buzzard's eye black-hollowed,
Puck-blank above a scrawny neck,
Its motive knifing forward:
Thus!
Despite his spasm, the greeding puttock
Jabs past a warding hand,
Plucks a soft centre.
And the thing with no scream
Gapes at the blackness,
And wishes it could die.

Copyright © 2003 Hugh Cook

Picture of front cover of ARC OF LIGHT poetry collection by Hugh Cook.

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