Primum non nocere

‘Not many of us
Generalists left,
more’s the pity.’

    Scenting blood,
you would say: ‘Let the
dog see the rabbit.’
    Gone Away —

And off you would hare,
hounding your quarry,
hunting with hands through

dark-bellied country
of covert and culvert

Breaking the fences,
bending the boundaries,
blind to the rules that bound

    mere mortals,
trampling the paddock
and pasture that stood
    in your way.

Till drawing a blank,
or caught in some thicket,
bogged deep in the mire

    once more,
icy beads on your brow
would silently signal
    Gone to Ground —

‘Tricky anatomy’
and ‘really stuck down,
the toughest I’ve seen,’

    you would say
(just as you would for
the next, and the next,
    and the next.)

Bring up the terriers
to dig and to harry,
to savage and tear,

    till cornered
at last, sinking, unmasked,
fox and field both were
    finished. Undone.

Had you no insight,
no inchoate inkling
of the damage you wrought?

    And what of
remorse, what of pity
for those many bereft?
    Gone — I would say.