They placed him on his side
a silhouette against the pillow, skin
stretched over long thin bones
his limbs in constant spasm, as if
he might still jerk himself awake
like a dog chasing dream hares
leaping fences; and I followed
through that cold February night
covering wordless mile after mile
a whole country mapped
between us, fields and mountains,
lochs and burns, half frozen rivers
and an outline up ahead, white
on white, passing out of sight.
Eleanor Livingstone is a Scottish poet and editor who lives in Fife. She is the Director of StAnza, Scotland's International Poetry Festival which takes place annually in St Andrews.
Her first full collection, Even the Sea (Red Squirrel Press, 2010), now in a second edition, was shortlisted for the 2010 inaugural London New Poetry award for first collections. Her other publications include The Last King of Fife (HappenStance, 2005), A Sampler (HappenStance, 2008) and as editor Skein of Geese (The Shed Press, 2008), Migraasje: Versions in Scots and Shetlandic (Stravaigers, 2008), Winning Poems (StAnza, 2014) and Bridging the Continental Divide (StAnza, 2015).
She says: "Rilke thought that 'in dogs, man raises up souls for which there is no heaven'. While I don't want it to be true, the notion has stuck in my mind and may be why dogs often appear in my poems."
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Snow hare © 2016 by by Eleanor Livingstone: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.
Photograph of Eleanor Livingstone © Dan Phillips, Writer Pictures