Coyote Nights

It’s a solitary sound at first,
That pierces through the night;
And sends a shudder down my spine,
Gives me a sudden fright.

A lonely howl comes from the woods
And holds its haunting notes.
Or comes up from the frozen marsh
And across the field it floats.

My breathin’ and my heartbeat stop.
I don’t move a muscle or a hair.
I’m frozen for a moment or two;
My last breath hangs in the air.

And then from somewhere else I hear
Another howling sound.
Joined by other yelps and barks,
It seems they’re all around.

A full moon rises in the sky
And with its bluish glow,
Casts scary shadows here and there
Across the crusted snow.

I never see coyotes at night.
Just hear their eerie sound.
But I have a feeling in my bones
That there’re coyotes all around.

So slowly I turn back for home
My feet move quietly.
I stop just once and turn around
To see if one is following me.

Then I remembered why it was
I had left my home and light,
I was taking my trusted dog named Belle
Out for her last walk at night 

I looked around to my left then right,
To see where she might be.
Then looked out far beyond the house
But her I did not see.

I worried first, that she had run
Out farther than she should;
To find the source of all the noise
That came from marsh and wood.

But then I realized I was wrong.
This dog I love and know,
Was not a dog to go and see
The things that scared her so.

And sure enough, when I walked ‘round,
From the back yard to the side,
There was Belle on the kitchen porch
In the shadows, trying to hide.

Both of us wasted little time
Moving through the door,
And closing it behind us tight,
Then scootin’ ‘cross the floor.

The day was over; night came in.
We made our way upstairs;
To find our slumbered winter’s sleep,
Far from the howls and glares.

Coyotes are a secret creature
They move around so shy.
Hidden in the shadowed dark
Beyond our human eye.

But maybe coyotes act like that:
Move quietly, shy, and such,
Because they know that people here
Don’t like them all that much.

Sure coyotes they will never be
Our favorite critter on the earth.
But they’re alive just as we our
And I think they have some worth.

See, all the howls, and barks and yelps
That make goose bumps on my skin,
Are just coyotes saying good-night
To their family, friends and kin. 

I guess coyotes cease their noise
Then curl up on the ground.
Just as Belle does below my bed.
Sure she is safe and sound.

But in her dreams; in shallow sleep
Belle’s spirit starts to roam;
Into the frozen, wintry night
And so far from our home.

She wanders ‘cross the frozen fields.
Beneath the pale star lights;
Into the darkened woods and marsh
Into coyote nights.

©2003 Skimmer


Skimmer Poems © Robert Hartnett 2005
Robert Hartnett
(518) 296-8841