The Song of the Little Hunter

Ere Mor the Peacock flutters, ere the Monkey People cry,
    Ere Chil the Kite swoops down a furlong sheer,
Through the Jungle very softly flits a shadow and a sigh–
    He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear!

    softly down the glade runs a waiting, watching shade,
    And the whisper spreads and widens far and near;
And the sweat is on thy brow, for he passes even now–
    He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear!

     the moon has climbed the mountain, ere the rocks
          are ribbed with light,
    When the downward-dipping trails are dank and drear,
Comes a breathing hard behind thee–snuffle-snuffle
          through the night–
    It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!

      thy knees and draw the bow; bid the shrilling arrow go;
    In the empty, mocking thicket plunge the spear;
But thy hands are loosed and weak, and the blood has left
          thy cheek–
    It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!

      the heat-cloud sucks the tempest, when the slivered
          pine-trees fall,
    When the blinding, blaring rain-squalls lash and veer;
Through the war-gongs of the thunder rings a voice more
          loud than all–
    It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!

        the spates are banked and deep; now the footless
          boulders leap–
    Now the lightning shows each littlest leaf-rib clear–
But thy throat is shut and dried, and thy heart against
          thy side
    Hammers: Fear, O Little Hunter–this is Fear!

from The Second Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

 

The Jungle Books at Google Books

illustration from wikimedia commons

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