Like a grey shadow lurking in the light,
He ventures forth along the edge of night ;
With silent foot he scouts the coulie’s rim
And scents the carrion awaiting him.
His savage eyeballs lurid with a flare
Seen but in unfed beasts which leave their lair
To wrangle with their fellows for a meal
Of bones ill-covered. Sets he forth to steal,
To search and snarl and forage hungrily ;
A worthless prairie vagabond is he.
Luckless the settler’s heifer which astray
Falls to his fangs and violence a prey ;
Useless her blatant calling when his teeth
Are fast upon her quivering flank––beneath
His fell voracity she falls and dies
With inarticulate and piteous cries,
Unheard, unheeded in the barren waste,
To be devoured with savage greed and haste.
Up the horizon once again he prowls
And far across its desolation howls ;
Sneaking and satisfied his lair he gains
And leaves her bones to bleach upon the plains.
From Flint and Feather: The Complete Poems of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) (The Musson Book Co., Limited, 1917) by Emily Pauline Johnson. This poem is in the public domain.