God was a ghostly fox that fled;
But a hound can scent where fox has ranged:
“Before the green of the leaves has changed
I will cry God out of his mountain bed.
“Yea, he is cunning to hide his flight
In the shifting mists of nights and days;
But up and across his intricate ways
I will hound and halloo him into sight.”
Certain of muzzle, and keen with strength,
He charged God down the silver spring;
And he halted nowhere for anything:
“I will surely lair the fox at length!”
Unswervingly the chase beat past,
Along the days that were vividly blue;
But never lifted the view halloo:
“Yet my speed shall bring me to God at last!”
The suns rose golden in the east,
The moons came up in silver wonder;
But still the noise of muffled thunder
And the heat of pursuing never ceased.
We called him when the stars came out,
And again when morning blossomed red;
But he would not turn his streaming head
From the wind that smelled of a fox in rout.
When gold leaves fluttered on every hill
He stormed at last the secret lair,
But he found the echoing cavern bare;
And the hollow of God was deathly still.
Baffled, he slowly raised his head
And sniffed at the crannies in his fright;
And his great eyes stupidly searched the night.
“Alas,” he whimpered,” the quarry is dead!
“Cheated I am of the burning chase
And a fox that rouses the countryside;
For now that the wraith of God has died
No fox may be started in any place!”
He doubled back toward the vanished sun.
“I will thunder across the fields,” he said,
“And follow as though God were not dead,
But were charging the brush and pebbly run.”
He sped the hills while the night was blue,
And harried the stars across the sky;
And along the valleys he raised a cry
As though he had seen God break in view.
He ran till the night had reached its noon
And he heard the great owls’ ghostly call,
Then he suddenly saw God’s shadow fall
Like a silver fox across the moon.
Wildly his glad heart made him run
Toward the golden highlands of the day;
And there he beheld God speed away,
A gaunt red fox before the sun!