“Breaking Cover” by Philip Reinagle‘Hunting’ and Other Poetry by William Conelly The Society January 3, 2021 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 11 Comments . . Hunting My father strides ahead of me.His khaki cap is all I see,beside the barrel of his gun.We’re hunting upland quail that runfrom us in loose community. The way is one that he knows best:zigzag downhill through scrub foresttoward a catch-pool where birds might drink.Young, quick to fire, I want to thinka few small kills define our quest. But this day’s outing is on loanagainst the days I hunt alone: an arc of years, an ocean crossed,the old ways of provision lost, the quick objectives up and flown. . . Solstice Week Red morning on a dark horizon—of what rough stuff will next year be?What course of moons, discord, loose lips,scutt work, whored dreams of dynasty? We fumble through an almanack,schedule to fetch and utilize,one column scored by sore desire,the other ticked for compromise. Our expectations ink new darknessdown the page, until dawn lifts.Above the flat displays of night,in sunlight, all perception shifts. . . After military service William Conelly took a Masters Degree in English under Edgar Bowers at UC Santa Barbara. Unrelated work in research and composition followed before he returned to academia in 2000. The Able Muse publishes a collection of his early work under the title UNCONTESTED GROUNDS. It may be reviewed at their website or via Amazon. Retired from teaching as a dual citizen, Mister Conelly resides in the West Midlands town of Warwick, England. NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 11 Responses Joe Tessitore January 3, 2021 Beautiful story-telling and reminiscing. Reply Court Reinland January 3, 2021 I remember fishing and hiking with my father in the Gifford Pinchot and it felt like this. Reply Sally Cook January 3, 2021 My mother was mostly raised by Indians while my grandfather was busy building his hotel, so she knew a lot of the old ways. While she taught the neighborhood boys to fish, I was left home to read poetry. It was the same thing, really. All of that is now being lost. Reply Joseph S. Salemi January 3, 2021 Hunting has always been a mark of aristocracy in Western culture, as well as a symbolic enactment of the triumph of the superior man over savage beasts. This is why the liberal-left hive is always in a buzzing rage against any kind of blood sport. There is one fault in this nice poem — the use of “forest” in line 7. Since all the other lines end with a heavy masculine stress, the reader naturally tends to place the ictus on the last syllable (“for – EST”), which is awkward and unintentionally funny. You don’t want that in a serious poem. I’d suggest the following rewrite: The way is one that he knows well: Zigzag down through vale and dell And begin each line with a capital letter, as is standard in traditional English verse. We don’t imitate modernist fakery here. Reply C.B. Anderson January 3, 2021 Until I read your comment, Joseph, I had intended to write one of my own about the rookie mistake of trying to rhyme a stressed syllable with an unstressed one, but you have it covered. As for the desirability of initial capitalization for each line, I think that that is good advice, but I believe more strongly that it’s the dealer’s choice. Convention, after all, is only convention, and may be adhered to or broken with, according to necessity or the author’s predilections. Your suggested rewrite was excellent, and I sometimes wish I could pass all of my poems through your exacting filters before I send them off to discerning editors. Reply Chtistopher Flint January 3, 2021 But then the “quest” line must also change. It would need an -ell rhyme. Joseph S. Salemi January 4, 2021 Then end it this way: “We’ll find our prey through sight and smell.” Christopher Flint January 3, 2021 Your very touching sentiment is extremely well expressed. I agree with Mr. Salemi that you might want to consider strengthening your meter and rhyme in these two beautifully descriptive lines: “zigzag downhill through scrub forest toward a catch-pool where birds might drink.” For example.. they could read: “traversing scrub where wings might rest at catch-pools to alight and drink.” That sort of change makes “downhill” implicit, which is somewhat weaker, but it preseves most of your description and I think gaining consistent meter and purifying the rhyme is a trade-off worth considering when everything else is so well wired. Your lament is a verse in any case that will reach a lot of folks, especially those who are aging and trasplanted in one way or another. Nicely done! Reply Paul A. Freeman January 3, 2021 The brevity and the clips of imagery of your poem leaves a clear impression, Mr Conelly, of 19th century Scotland – to me, at least. Another suggestion on the talking point lines, if you’ll forgive me: “The way is one he’s (we’ve) often made: silently (zig and zag) through wood and glade toward a pool where wildfowl drink” The above loses the relative pronoun ‘that’ and the helping verb ‘might’, but I do like ‘zigzagging’ (‘zig and zag’ would be a good blood pressure raising alternative) and ‘scrub’ – ‘raid’ could then replace ‘quest’. I also liked in the third stanza how you spanned the years and put the moment of time in context. Thank you for sharing this Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant January 5, 2021 William, I love this atmospheric and nostalgic piece… the beautiful closing couplet has touched my heart and misted my eyes – the sign of a very good poem, indeed. Thank you! Reply William Conelly February 8, 2021 Thanks for the comments, one and all. Every poem I’ve composed, over the years, has been a learning process and ‘Hunting’ stands out among them. The first two stanzas depict a personality ‘quick to fire’ (and hence forego one of the rules of classical composition) while the third — assembled literally decades later — encompasses and accommodates a personality become more aware, both of self and structure. That ‘Hunting’ has drawn numerous comments and ‘Solstice Week’ none, I believe, validates that depiction. Of course it underlines the timeless nature of revision as well. — WmC Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.