Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Captured by the Cold

Cold Winter 

Has shut me inside.

Locked me away

Closed me into four walls.

Restless, uneasy, weary of four walls.

My eyes are tired of paint and windows

My ears filled to capacity

With house sounds,

Wheezing furnace, gurgling pipes.

My spirit paces like a caged wild thing.

Yearnin' for the hollers and hills of home. 

I long for the sight of ol' red dirt roads, 

'Baccer barns an' sooner dogs 

That rise up to watch as folks go by. 

My ear listens for that unmistakable mountain drawl, 

Hungry for kith and kin.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Waiting World


It is a silent night. 

The stars wink at the world, 

As if they share in some cosmic joke. 

The snow has become a hard crust, 

Trees wait quietly for new life. 

Occasionally there is the sound 

Of chilled wildlife 

Crunching through the snow. 

Yet in all the frosty quiet, 

The world waits again 

For Christmas.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey
Picks at seeds
Hidden in tall grass.
Clucks an' sings
A huntin' song.
Song of sweet grain,
Plump, crunchy bugs
An' fat little grubs.
Turkey beats a casual tune
In the dirt.
Pluckin' tunes
From root an' rock.

Copyright 11/7/2004  Stephen Hollen

Ladybug Revival

In a sidelined church
Black shutters stark
Against chalky white wood
Hundreds of ladybugs
Creep to a corner
Huddled in a mass
Of insect communion.

Copyright 11/1/2004  Stephen Hollen

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mama's DVD

I have to share with you a wonderful true story about my Mama.    You may remember I lost my Daddy in May to cancer.  Since that time my Mama has been learning to pay bills, balance her checkbook, budget...all the things she hated to do.  She used to sneak checks out of the back of the checkbook so my Daddy wouldn't find them.  First of the month was sometimes a time of wailing and gnashing of teeth 'cause Mama liked to spend.

She has been doing fairly well with all this, but a couple weeks ago she went into Wal-Mart.  There was a display of the DVD, "The Passion of the Christ" and a sale price of about $16.  Sounds good, but she didn't have a DVD player.  Well, right beside the DVDs was a real live DVD player for $59!!!!  She bought both and took them home.

Of course, she didn't know how to hook the thing up, so Oh My Darlin' and I went over that weekend and hooked 'er up.  I patiently showed her how to turn it on, put in a DVD and play it.  I put the "Passion" DVD in and demonstrated several times.  She did it right and everything was fine.  I put the DVD back in the plastic sleeve and we left a bit later.  We left several other DVDs for her to watch.

A week later she told me she was having problems with the DVD player.  It wouldn't play the DVDs.

I reviewed the process with her and she said she did all that.

I asked if it acted funny when she put a DVD in.  She told me there was one already in the player.  Did she put it in?  Nope.  It was the one I left in.

I clearly remember putting the "Passion" back in the plastic sleeve and telling her to be sure and put DVDs back into the sleeve so they would not get scratched.

She told me in no uncertain words that I had left her DVD in the player.  I said I didn't.

"I know you did and it won't play." Mama said.

"How do you know I left a DVD in it?  Have you looked in the plastic sleeve?" I asked.

"No, I don't need to.  The DVD player let me know the "Passion" was in the machine when I turned it on, but it won't play."

"It let you know?  What did it say, Mama?"

"The little screen lights up when I turn it on and it says 'HELLO LORD'.  I mash the play button and nothing happens." she told me.

Now cousins, I had to think for a moment and I started giggling.  She got a little offended and asked what I was laughing about.

"Mama, the little screen didn't say "HELLO LORD" to indicate "The Passion of The Christ" was in the DVD player.  When the player comes on it says "hello" then the screen says "LOAD".

"Well, I thought it was some kind of message about the movie."

She was pretty offended that I was laughing pretty hard.  I told her someone was at the door and I hung up and giggle for a long time.

God works in mysterious ways.  Moses heard Him in a burning bush...why not my Mama through a DVD?

Copyright Stephen Hollen   9/2004

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Dreams

Dream with me...

Somewhere deep in the hills of Kentucky
There is a place
Way down a holler
Down a road, paved
But windin' along beside
A chilly creek, not yet frozen
Past an ol' one room school
Past neighbors and kin
Yonder on past four barns
Still yet full of tobaccer.
Follow the road
Keep your eyes on the fences
They'll lead you there
Down where a small branch
Runs into that chilly creek
Turn just there and go back a ways.
There is a cabin
Perhaps just in my dreams
Good sized an' sturdy
Red metal roof half covered
With new fallen snow
Smoke wanders out
Of a tight rock chimney
A few lights are on
Mostly you see a twinkle
Of tiny lights near a window
Blinkin' an' twinkin' on a tree
Topped with an ancient angel
That survived three generations
Of youngin's an decades of Christmas times.
Park near the old barn and just look...
Barnyard covered in snow
A few crazy chickens sneakin' out
An ol' dog rises an shakes
Comes from under the porch
Tail a waggin' in greetin.
Porch swing is lonely an'
Waitin' for warmer weather.
Up the hillside holly is green
An berries red bring birds
Hungry for a holiday feast.
Your feast is waitin'
Inside, yonder where there
Is warmth, and love...
And Christmas.

Copyright 12/26/07   Stephen Hollen

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why I believe

First of all, let me say that we are mountain folks, Appalachians and have been in the Appalachian Mountains since the 1750s. Mountain folks are simple, soft spoken and on the quiet side (I broke out of that mold). My Daddy fit that mold perfectly. He spoke little, was not one to say things like "I love you" or "I'm proud of you". He used to kid that he told Mama he loved her when they got married and if that changed he would let her know.

Mama was the gift giver, the hugger, the talker. She was the one who decorated lavishly for the holidays, especially Christmas. She was the one who bought the presents, who read us stories. Daddy just "hmmphed" when we talked about Santa and Christmas. He watched us open presents, but never went on and on about them like Mama did.

Christmas was a wonderful time, a time of food, comfort food, mountain food... family - yes lots and lots of family gatherings AND presents. Big extended families always meant lots of presents. Many were simple, many family members had little to give but everyone gave what they could. My Grandma was the best. She started buying right after Christmas so every single person had a gift under her tree.

After the family gatherings on Christmas Eve we would come home, my little brother and I would get PJs on and with the awe of a child pour a glass of milk and put out two - exactly two cookies (one from each of us). Mama told us we had to be in bed and asleep for Santa to come. We giggled and snickered, promising each other we would stay awake though we never really did.

Each Christmas I remember hearing the jingle of sleigh bells and the sound of hooves hitting our roof. I just was never able to wake up enough to go to the window and look. Sometimes we would be up at 3:00 am trying to open the presents Santa left.

Then when I was 11 years old my Daddy brought home a helicopter with a 3 foot cable and a crank on the end. He would crank like crazy and the helicopter would fly! It was a Daddy toy and he would put it up high in a closet so we couldn't get at it.

In the summer our next door neighbor Kitty took care of us while Mama and Daddy worked. I couldn't get that helicopter off my mind and told Kitty I needed to go in our house to get something. I suspected Daddy had hidden his helicopter in the tall shelved closet at the end of the hallway.

I went in and down the hallway, opened the doors to the closet and used the shelves as a ladder. When I was at the top I hung on with one hand and felt around the top shelf with the other. Several things fell out with a jingle and jangle.

I looked down... and climbed down. There in the pile of things from the top shelf were sleigh bells. I picked them up and shook them and immediately recognized the jingle I heard each Christmas as I fell into slumber. I was horrified. I was betrayed. My childhood came crashing down around my ears. I put everything back, knowing that what the bigger boys said had to be true. There was no Santa.

I never told my little brother, didn't tell anyone. I did determine to stay awake Christmas Eve and look out the window. I figured it was my Mom. She was the one that decorated and went on and on about Christmas.

The year went quickly, too quickly for an 11 year old who had grown up too fast. I was quiet during the Christmas Eve celebrations. I obediently helped pour the milk and put out exactly 2 cookies, knowing it was for naught, wondering who actually would eat them.

Mama told us we had to go to sleep so Santa could come. I teared up and cried in my pillow a bit, knowing big boys didn't cry. I cried because I knew Santa wouldn't really be there.

I stayed awake, waiting. I was going to look out this time, see the lie in person... maybe look my Mom in the eye.

After my little brother was sleeping soundly my Mama looked in. I breathed slowly, pretending to be asleep. She left. The front door opened and closed quietly.

Then the sound of sleigh bells and the thumping that I always thought was tiny reindeer hooves landing on the roof.

I quietly got out of bed. The bedroom door was open a crack and I looked out. Mama was quietly putting presents under the tree. So, who was jingling the sleigh bells?

I ran on tiptoes to my window, pushed back the curtains just enough to look out. And there he was, he was real!

There stood my Daddy, coat on, cigarette in his mouth as he made snowballs and threw them on the roof, one after another in a pattern that the next day would look like 8 reindeer had landed. Occasionally he would shake the sleigh bells quietly so 2 little boys would hear them in their sleep. The whole time he had the biggest grin on his face.

Somehow the mantle of Santa had wrapped itself around my Daddy that night as he stood there. It wrapped itself around that simple mountain man and he was transformed in my little 11 year old heart. My Daddy WAS Santa that night.

The next morning I watched Daddy closer. He had a quiet smile on his face as little brother and Mama went on and on about Santa. I never told anyone about that night for years.

Many years later I asked Daddy for those sleigh bells when I had a little girl named Kelly. I told Daddy the story I am telling you. He got up, went to his closet and brought them to me with tears in his eyes. I hugged Santa right then and there and told him I loved him. He told me "same here". As I drove home the power of who I was to become hit me and I wept. My Daddy had passed a heritage of quiet love along to me.

That Christmas I waited till my little one was asleep, The mantle of Santa fell on me as I quietly went outside and began to throw snowballs on the roof and occasionally jingled the sleigh bells.

My little one is grown now, the sleigh bells are still in my closet but they still have the same magic. Occasionally I shake them, hear them jingle...

And I believe all over again.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter in Beloved

The winter has been mild in my hometown of Beloved, Kentucky.  The snow has held off except for one big snowfall in early December.  That was a historic week in the journals of home as that snowfall saw the death of Homer "Bud" Clavens from up on Brushy Butt Creek.

Seems like Bud Clavens noticed his outhouse was pretty near full an' in need of the hole bein' filled an' a new hole dug.  Bud got the idea of puttin' sled runners on the outhouse an' waitin till it snowed real deep to just move the outhouse to a new location hangin' over a steep ravine.  He figured he would just push it to the edge, secure it an' never have to dig an outhouse hole again.  Pretty good idea, as far as it went.

When it started snowin', Bud hiked the outhouse up a bit so the sled runners would be on top of the snow.  Him an' his wife, Etta figured they would use a slop bucket for a few days, haul the outhouse to the edge of that ravine an' be livin' in high cotton from them on.

Problem was, Bud was out feedin' his hogs an' nature called.  He couldn't make it back to the house, so he figured "one for the road" an' stepped into the hiked up outhouse.

His weight in the outhouse made the dang thing break off the jacks an' land on the sled runners.  As he stood up to see what in the heck was goin' on the whole kit an' kaboodle took off on them sled runners, headed downhill to the ravine.

Bud saw where the thing was goin' an sat down, holdin' on th a Sears an Roebuck catalog that he was readin' an' grabbed hold of the sides to keep from fallin' through the hole as he bounced over the river an' through the woods!!!

Well, when he hit the edge of the ravine, he had planned to drop an old Model A Ford tire rim through the hole tied to his scarf from 'round his neck.  He was movin so fast he whizzed right past the edge (pardon the pun) in the outhouse an' fell to his death over 100 feet to the bottom of the ravine.

The fall jammed the outhouse so deep into the ravine that his wife an' youngins decided it were a waste to undig ol' Homer "Budd" Clavins when he was near buried already.  They threw a few buckets of dirt over the top of the outhouse an' left Bud to his eternal rest.

A lovely memorial service was held at the top of the ravine an' a mess of flowers was thrown over the side to rest on the mound of dirt below.

Homer "Budd" Clavins was 102 years old an' is survived by 17 children, 85 grandchildren an a mess of cousins, brothers an' his Mama, Eunice Poovey Clavins.

Monday, December 07, 2009

First Snow

First snow, just a dusting
Covering the ground
Like sugar on a donut.
Cold wind swirls
Twists and wraps
Flakes around
The trees.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Stealthy Winter

How quietly winter slips in
Her stealth brings her unnoticed.
Whispering around the corners 
Of barns, smokehouses
And cabins with secrets
Of snow and frost.

Yet she will pour her anger out
Her fury will beat down
On house and home.
Her anger will pile up
With the snow drifting
Along the fence rows.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I watched as a tiny sparrow
Flew to the door of a workshop
Landed on the open door
Looked intently into the dark
Warm and musty room.

I wonder what he thought
What he was looking for
Why did he sit calmly
What was he pondering?

Friday, September 11, 2009


Do you remember?
Where you were
Who stood by your side?
When the news came
When you first saw the horror?

It is an image
That is seared
Into the backs of my eyes
Burned into my brain.

Images that will never fade
Shock that doesn't ease
The sight of men, women
Jumping to their death
Can you imagine
A situation
When that is the best option?

Copyright 9/11/2006 Stephen Hollen

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Misty morning

The first day of September
Brings a promise of fall
A promise of crisp mornings.

It is a glimpse of quilt

Of woolen shirts,
flannel and sweater

The first day of September whispers
Promises of orange, yellow and red leaves
Decorating the trees, glorious maples, stately oaks, sassy burning bush.

Fall is lurking,
Hiding in the mornings
Crawling around like a night beast
Seeking to devour summer.

You can see it in the mist
That gathers round the houses
Lingers longer each day
As sunrise sleeps in just a little longer.

Fall is glorious, a cool and calculating lover.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Great Darke County Fair

There is nothing better than a County Fair, as you have heard me say. For a country boy the sights, the smells, the multitude of foods all call like a carney to your heart.

You want to go in, want to sip lemon shakeups and wade into the largest funnel cake in the history of the world. Your nose and eyes battle as you try to decide if the fried chicken smells better than the enormous pork tenderloin that hangs out of all sides of the bun by at least a foot.

The thump of an ancient machine cranking out home made ice cream in 7, count them 7 flavors, including black walnut beats a bass rhythm under the cry of the sideshow barker inviting you to see Zambina, the amazing 3 legged chicken, the dinkie doo, the rubber faced man, the alligator skinned rabbit. All the wonders of the world brought to your little town, your County Seat in trucks and trailers and available for your viewing pleasure for one think dollar bill. The opportunity of a lifetime, folks.

In a quiet places are the Grange exhibits.

Tables overladen with enormous neighbor beater tomatoes, zucchini squash to make any gardener proud,

Pumpkins large enough for
Cinderella's coach without much magic.

Cucumbers proudly covering a table, decorated with ribbons, blue, red and yellow proclaiming the skill of the farmer.

I sit on a pew, straight backed and worn, escaping from the sun...

watching judges look, feel, weigh the fruits of FFA labors in their hands. Years of experience have taught them skills I do not possess.

By some secret standards they declare a tomato, pepper, squash, onion or ear of corn a showstopper... best of show.

Sometimes I wonder if Heaven will have a County Fair.

Then I think, surely it will.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Growing up in the mountains of Appalachia was the cornerstone of my life, the foundation of who I am, who I was and who I hope to become.

I ran and played in the hollers, climbed the hills and wandered the mountains.

I watched the mist inch down at dusk and saw it flee daylight. I sat quietly on cabin porches and listened enraptured to treefrogs, night birds, owls and insects.

I marveled at the beauty of those ancient hills. the hills of Appalachia.

Now I have traveled west, seen the Rockies, been stymied and befuddled by the majesty of these giants.

As I climbed my breath was quite literally stolen from me. Standing in the cold of summer I gasped to regain my breath and gloried in what God had wrought.

It was a different beauty, like an ice princess that has never been warmed by a lover's kiss.

Traveling through the deep valleys brought thoughts of the life pioneers must have lived... gold rush miners, settlers trying to find passage to the west and California's temperate land. How they must have suffered, smothering in their bedrolls for lack of air, freezing in the winter, wishing for the heat of summer even in August.

The towns, like those in Appalachia are small, tucked under the shadow of mountains so big they carry names; Elbert, Massive, Harvard, Crestone Peak, Mount Wilson, Maroon Bells, Pikes Peak.

Mining towns like Georgetown covey close below, almost afraid to grow close the the mountain, for fear of reprisal.

They are neat, close, kept and warm, almost causing one to forget what looms overhead.

It was a place of hidden beauties.

Of Alpine glories.

It was a place that stole my breath...

And Again...

The window of a store
shows a hodge podge
of items and forgotten relics of times past.

They seem somewhat incongruous with the majesty all around.

It is as if someone took them up from another alien time and place

And placed them in the window, as if to show how life could be in not so challenging a landscape

I watched a distant storm chase over the peaks.

Oblivious to me, to anyone or anything huddled and cuddled in the ruts below the mountains.

Purple with rage, angry and wicked it dumped rain onto the pines and aspens, it drenched the naked rock faces below with little regard for men.

It thrilled me.

It frightened me.

For in the hills of home we could creep close together and warm ourselves in the bosom of the sweet mountains, hidden by the night.

In this foreign and threatening place the air does not flow into my lungs, I am not reassured as I am by the enveloping arms of Appalachia

It is rugged and ragged, it is glorious and wonderful. It is majesty hewn and sculpted from the heart of the world. These mountains in summer are draped...are wrapped only slightly by the warmth of soil and trees.

I was thrilled, but yearned for worn down old hills, trodden down mountains, old when the Rockies were born. Gentle hollers, branches, hills and peaks that welcome and call me back to the place I belong. that sing a siren song of home

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Love the Fair

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First of all, I have to tell you right off that I love county fairs. There is nothing better than going to a fair and walking around just to watch all that happens. I especially love going during the day. There is not the press of folks common in the evenings when all the city folks come to ride the rides and the boys try to win prizes and impress their gals at the midway games.

The daytime is dedicated to showing 4H animals, judging, grooming cows, sheep, goats, rabbits and chickens of every variety. Kids in blue jeans and boots move with serious dedication to their goal of herding an animal into the ring.

Today I took a long lunch to go over to the County Fair and walk through as I ate. I had a fish boat. It was filled with fried catfish, hushpuppies and French fries that I covered with vinegar. I couldn’t eat and play games, so I felt safe walking through the midway. I listened to the carneys calling to boys, “come on now, fella, win one for that pretty gal there.” Or maybe, “Hey there, everyone is a winner. Only two to play and one of the two wins a prize”.

Then I walked through Cow Barn 4. There were younger 4H kids with calves in that barn. As I walked I saw a little Jersey calf lying on a thick pile of fresh straw. She was curled up and sleeping peacefully. A little blonde headed girl of about 7 was curled right up against the calf with her head on the calf’s neck. Her hand carefully rubbed the calf’s ear as she grinned up at me.

I walked through the goat barn, the rabbit and chicken barn and stood at the side of a show ring and watched some boys and one single girl show their pigs. I have to say that I grinned constantly as I heard the pigs squeal and saw little boys trying to make their cantankerous pigs move in the right direction.

The Grange displays were full of beautiful tomatoes; gallon jars of soybeans or corn, squash, huge heads of cabbage and baskets overflowing with beans. There were jams and jellies that delighted the eye, cakes that just cried out for eating.

I believe I could live at the fair. I could eat rib eye sandwiches or butterfly pork from the Clay County Pork Producers. At lunch I would snag an ear of fresh corn on the cob covered with butter, salt and pepper. Dessert would be home made strawberry ice cream one day and maybe the thin crisp county fair waffles all covered with powdered sugar. For supper I would go into the Methodist Church Ladies Missionary Group tent and have their sit down chicken dinner.

I’d have to have a job, so I would bring back the sideshows and I would be the barker. I would be resplendent in a striped jacket with a straw hat and bamboo cane. There I would stand on a big wooden box all painted up in primary colors as I called out;

“Ste-ep right this way folks, come one come all and see the greatest show ever to grace this county fair. Perhaps the most amazing accumulation of oddities, talent and unexplainable phenomenon the world has ever seen. Come see Johnny the dog eared boy, the chicken with 3 legs, the dinky doo. Come right this way, sir and bring the little lady to see the world’s largest, yes I said the world’s largest bull, the horse faced man, see Zambina, the missing link as she changes from beautiful modern woman to gorilla. Yes, folks, I said Zambina the gorilla woman, fresh from her tour of New Orleans French Quarter.

Here it is folks. This is the real thing. Never before and never again will you see anything like this. Step right up now and see the bearded lady, the world’s largest rat. We have it here folks, all right here in your little town for this week only. Don’t go home and wonder. Don’t walk by only to dream years from now about what you missed by passing this wonderful show by.”

Published July 26, 2004

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gossamer Copter

No story, no verse. I just think this image of a dragonfly I captured on my camera is wonderful. Such a tiny filamentous, gossamer creature resting on a twig. I can't help but wonder how many passed it by, never seeing it, never realizing it was even there. I paused and watched as it sat unmoving for so very long.

Then I realized I may have passed by just such a dragonfly a thousand times in that wetland. I may have walked by oblivious. Yet I wonder, did it see me? Did its kaleidoscope eyes watch as I stomped along? Did its dragonfly heart race in fear?

How often we sit in the cocoon of our homes, never going outside to see, to be. The dragonfly perhaps rests safer, but how poor we are for our disinterest.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Does it ever seem that the world has laid a path?
A walkway through life that does not wander
Does not vary, does not allow for change?
Have you been bound and girdled
By the path chosen by the mob
By the straight, careful, manicured way?
Do you ever look from side to side
Seeing a path through the wild
Made by feet unknown, unshod
And wonder where it would lead?
No, it is not safe, is not careful
Is not secure, may be wrong.
But, then again...
It may lead to that secret place
That hidden sanctuary
To a retreat that is only yours
A garden laying in wait
Lush and green, wild with flowers
Colors you can't imagine
Tumbling all round
And in the middle of the garden
A place for you.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Angry Morning

The morning is not soft or gentle.
Storms push and beat on my head
Thunder is unforgiving as it rattles
Slams and pounds without pause.
Dawn is set away somewhere
Replaced by ragged
Jagged lightening strikes
Here, there, anywhere I gaze.
The rain joins in
Like a schoolyard bully
Showing himself
In front of friends.

Dawn Interrupted

Dawn Interrupted

Monday, August 03, 2009

Magpie madrigals awaken me

Early each morning

Glorying in the newness

Of the day

Praising the beauty

Of newly sprung Spring.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Looking back along the path

I often sit and dream, think of the roads taken and not.
Not a great poet, I, nor a philosopher wise
Just a weary traveler who looks back
Sees the road behind
The choices made, the road less
And more traveled.
Then I wonder, I drift in possibilities
Of what could have been
Should have been, might have been.
If we could go back,
You and I, retrace our path,Walk backward in our footprints
And stand at that place
Where roads divide...
Would we stop and consider well
Our paths, think on these things
Or run recklessly toward the roads
We know, we are secure in?

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Thursday, March 26, 2009


I am weary
Weary of the grind
Weary of the blare
Of unwanted television news
Of the cry of talking heads
Creating economic disaster
With their intrusive blather
Crying in the spilt beer
Of lost financial gain
Weary of television, radio, internet.

I want to run to the hills
Hope for poor signals
Hope for undelivered papers
I want to walk in a woods
Filled with promise
As jack in the pulpits
Sneak through the debris
As May apples lift up.
I want to be scolded by squirrels
Angry that I have walked into their woods
I want to sit under an oak
Simply listen to the world
And perhaps sleep
Perhaps dream.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


There are times when it is just too cold to write.
Fingers stiff, skin cold, just can't get warm.
Instead of being a beautiful scenic view of snow falling gently...
Large flakes drifting as if in a silent movie
It is miserable, icy and I am snowbound.

Winter is a nasty thing.
It is hideous,
Rude and unwilling to be gentle, nice.
It scrapes icy nails across the chalkboard of January.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Lone Fox

Lone fox lopes across a corn field
Frozen and buried in snow.
Remnants of corn stalks push through
Baring broken and torn roots to the wind.
A noise stops the wary fox in his tracks
His ears swivel and he slowly surveys the field.
Satisfied there is no danger he moves on
Stops and listens with one ear held close
Near the snow as he seeks, searches.
With a practiced jump, pushing off with long legs
He pops into the air and buries his muzzle in snow.
Raising his head, he throws a mouse morsel in the air
Catches it with relish, swallows and lopes on.