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away from the road 31
in the new stillness around
for some minutes. Well, he thought,
he has built up a good lead.
He pictured the fox moving
through the coming dusk and dark
downstream toward settled country.
He could not convincingly
see where the fox then might go.
He was getting up to leave
when he fi rst heard the foxhounds.
The far-off , varied baying,
oddly melodious, came
drifting in through the stillness.
-- Yes, they're a long way upstream.
And this creekbed that the fox
chose for its course, is a choice
course for a pack of foxhounds.
He did not stay on to watch
the pack go by. He gathered
his gun and rucksack and left,
glad he had brought a fl ashlight.
He knew this breed was tireless.
They'd stream past, wild-eyed, long ears
fl apping, tails up and waving....
One mild spring evening two years
later, as the dusk thickened
toward darkness in the soft air,
he came back down to his car
as he'd done fi ve or six times
since the day he saw the fox;
but this was for the last time.