Verse > Rudyard Kipling > Verse: 1885–1918
Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).  Verse: 1885–1918.  1922.
The Song of the Little Hunter
ERE Mor the Peacock flutters, ere the Monkey People cry,
  Ere Chil the Kite swoops down a furlong sheer,
Through the Jungle very softly flits a shadow and a sigh—
  He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear!
Very softly down the glade runs a waiting, watching shade,        5
  And the whisper spreads and widens far and near.
And the sweat is on thy brow, for he passes even now—
  He is Fear, O Little Hunter, he is Fear!
Ere the moon has climbed the mountain, ere the rocks are ribbed with light,
  When the downward-dipping trails are dank and drear,        10
Comes a breathing hard behind thee—snuffle-snuffle through the night—
  It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!
On thy knees and draw the bow; bid the shrilling arrow go;
  In the empty, mocking thicket plunge the spear!
But thy hands are loosed and weak, and the blood has left thy cheek—        15
  It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!
When the heat-cloud sucks the tempest, when the slivered pine-trees fall,
  When the blinding, blaring rain-squalls lash and veer,
Through the war-gongs of the thunder rings a voice more loud than all—
  It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!        20
Now the spates are banked and deep; now the footless boulders leap—
  Now the lightning shows each littlest leaf-rib clear—
But thy throat is shut and dried, and thy heart against thy side
  Hammers: Fear, O Little Hunter—this is Fear!

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