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A Red Wolf

by Nancy Ames

I saw a red wolf once, when I
happened to look out through
a midwinter dawn window. It
went into the trees on the other
side of our snow-covered field.

It wasn`t a fox, not even a very
large fox. Oh, no. No. It was
definitely a wolf, a big wolf, a
bright foxy-red wolf, running
swift and strong, right in front
of some very high snow-drifts
that were piled up along the far
edge of our field, and it went in
among the black vertical lines
of the crooked tree-trunks of
the sketchy young forest over
there. I could see exactly how
large, fierce and intent it was,
chasing some kind of a wild
animal into the brush, possibly
a very scared white rabbit who
was trying to find a rabbit hole.

The white rabbit was of course
inferred or imaginary but I saw
the red wolf. I watched the red
wolf for at least thirty seconds.

Then I pulled my surprised eyes
away from the window and the
white frozen world outside and
shivering bent quickly to light
the stove, to put the bright red
flame of a wooden match to the
newspaper and kindling I had
laid in the stove already, so that
everybody would be waking up
to a warm kitchen and a lovely
hint of wood smoke and coffee
and the cheerful singing of a hot
steaming kettle.

Maybe I ought to have told them
or told somebody anyway about
seeing a red wolf that morning
but I just thought they wouldn`t
believe me, and I didn`t want them
to start any silly sleepy arguments
or make any of their nasty jokes
or quibbles, you know? Besides,
the little children might so easily
have been frightened and the men
would most probably only have
wanted to kill it.

Now, looking back, I`m starting to
wonder if that isn`t something like
whatever has happened to the truth.


Author's Note: I really did see a red wolf, red as a fox, on our farm in eastern Ontario, in the late 70`s, and just now made a story-poem out of it.

Posted on 04/08/2017
Copyright © 2023 Nancy Ames

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 04/08/17 at 09:21 PM

And I believe you. Fascinating story poem. Perhaps the red wolf an omen of good things to come. I really like the supernatural feel of this, even if not intended.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 04/09/17 at 03:02 AM

I loved the story telling and admired your segue at the end into wondering where truth may have gone. Enjoyed the contrast of the white rabbit with the red fox. And the contrast of the very cozy kitchen scene you created against the next stanza where to reveal might cause great unrest and fear. Thanks for this.

Posted by George Hoerner on 04/11/17 at 01:15 AM

I haven't been in farmhouse kitchen like that since I was last at my stepmother's family house outside of Swan River, Canada in probably the early 50's. It was a great place where I met some really good people who put up with bratty little kid!

Posted by Brian Francis on 04/11/17 at 02:23 PM

A red wolf gives you so much to write and write you did. A wonderful free verse offering with every strophe a complete idea and the story is wonderful with the contrast of the inside and outside. I could hear the crackling of the stove just starting. Good write well done. peace -bf

Posted by Rob Littler on 04/12/17 at 08:50 AM

I too like the solitary times, the chance to vision something, the encounter. Just today I stopped on my hike and stared at the trail, noticing bugs everywhere, an immense complex symbiosis. What does the red wolf have to say to you?It is said that at the door of each of the Four Winds, a wolf keeps silent vigil, each bringing change to the life of those who walk the Good Red Road and with the change, a lesson unique to that Wind. The individual who has been blessed to have Red Wolf walk beside him/her as their Totem, can expect a life blessed with abundant change and, hence, tremendous growth, as this is the Wolf that stands at the Southern Gate.

Posted by Linda Fuller on 03/22/20 at 12:55 AM

Man, I like this poem.

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