Haunt of Thieves: part one

Posted by ractrose on 28 Aug 2018 in Art, Poems


A refugee from apocalyptic war comes to a desolated country, where the only escape from the sport of its occupiers — who will hunt him with dogs — is a mountain pass, the haunt of thieves… They kill and plunder in their own right. Gafeidda debates his chances with the Shepherd, but cannot bring himself to trust the Shepherd.






Oil painting of soldier in kepi before dramatic rock formations







Haunt of Thieves

Part One



You see, Gafeidda, how the road climbs to the bend

How perilous and narrow

The way is, that the passer must hug the mountain’s face

At the crest, how the sun at its mid-day height

Becomes a torch splintered by horns of grey rock

The dark rock

(His strength is a piercing flame; our god is distant, and hears not our lamentation)

The Old-Spirited One, we call the cropping

A tree by lightning smote

The haunt of thieves

When night falls, Gafeidda, you will know

The glow of embers, even now—

You see the brazier’s smoke

If you remain, you will not return

Hunted Gafeidda, you will long to burn

Cross there, quarry of thieves

Or linger, and be torn by dogs


Gafeidda hears the wind

This change from deadened frost to biting cold

That has gained potency from the noon hour


It cries, this wind, like a child

The Shepherd says aloud

(The meaning will unfold, gradually;

and all you’ve staked your life on will be

brought to mediocrity)

Now drawing frozen hands to lower once again

His hat brim, muffle this pinpricking rain

Away, Gafeidda thinks the dogs, far below, cry too

Caged and let starve for days

Only days enough to make them hunger

They will be loosed

Before the sun has set




Haunt of Thieves

Virtual cover for poetry collection Mystery PlaysHaunt of Thieves (part two)














(2016, Stephanie Foster)