by Carolin Messier
As I walked in the dark evening
under the waning crescent moon,
a shadow passed silently over me.
Having sensed more than seen
this flutter of darkness,
it felt protective and benevolent,
neither sinister nor threatening.
I paused and looked to see
what had cast its image
in the pool of street lamplight,
my vision seeing at first nothing
but still, black branches
and the quiet lane.
I realized then that I was not alone
and met the gaze of the night hunter
as he perched on the wire above,
calm and confident,
completely without blood-lust.
Hunting is his honorable occupation
into which he had been born.
There is neither sport
nor gratuitous violence in his kills.
Being the wise watchman of the nocturnal hours
the death he deals solidifies life;
it nourishes and feeds himself and his brood;
it continues the cycle
of what has always been.
While I paused on my way
I looked at him, and he at me.
Our eyes held each other
in mutual respect and deference,
neither wishing to disturb
the other in his nightly rounds.
I was honored to witness
this brief respite from his evening’s focus
and felt the rarity of it.