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! 
Very 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!

Ere 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, 
On 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!

When 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! 
Now 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! 


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Return to the Rudyard Kipling library , or . . . Read the next poem; The Song Of The Old Guard

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