Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern American Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
 
Madison Cawein. 1865–1914
 
34. The Man Hunt
 
THE woods stretch wild to the mountain side, 
And the brush is deep where a man may hide, 
  
They have brought the bloodhounds up again 
To the roadside rock where they found the slain. 
  
They have brought the bloodhounds up, and they         5
Have taken the trail to the mountain way. 
  
Three times they circled the trail and crossed, 
And thrice they found it and thrice they lost. 
  
Now straight through the pines and the underbrush 
They follow the scent through the forest's hush.  10
  
And their deep-mouthed bay is a pulse of fear 
In the heart of the wood that the man must hear. 
  
The man who crouches among the trees 
From the stern-faced men that follow these. 
  
A huddle of rocks that the ooze has mossed—  15
And the trail of the hunted again is lost. 
  
An upturned pebble; a bit of ground 
A heel has trampled—the trail is found. 
  
And the woods re-echo the bloodhounds' bay 
As again they take to the mountain way.  20
  
A rock; a ribbon of road; a ledge, 
With a pine-tree clutching its crumbling edge. 
  
A pine, that the lightning long since clave, 
Whose huge roots hollow a ragged cave. 
  
A shout; a curse; and a face aghast,  25
And the human quarry is laired at last. 
  
The human quarry, with clay-clogged hair 
And eyes of terror, who waits them there; 
  
That glares and crouches and rising then 
Hurls clods and curses at dogs and men.  30
  
Until the blow of a gun-butt lays 
Him stunned and bleeding upon his face. 
  
A rope, a prayer, and an oak-tree near. 
And a score of hands to swing him clear. 
  
A grim black thing for the setting sun  35
And the moon and the stars to look upon. 
 
 
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