Saturday, December 28, 2019

Poetry: Self-Portrait as a Wolf (For Donald Hall)

Self-Portrait as a Wolf
(For Donald Hall)

Once I served
my species proudly

by eating the
sickness of prey.

Now, driven from
the Adirondacks

I am the one
endangered. Spotted.

My sharp muzzle
sprinkled with dense,

black yellowish-white

turned into pelts
for unborn bones

on Christmas eve.

Read More Poems From The Adirondack Almanack HERE.

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George Cassidy Payne is an independent writer, domestic violence counselor, and adjunct instructor in the humanities at Finger Lakes Community College.

George's blogs, essays, letters, poems, and photographs have been published in a wide variety of national and international outlets such as USA Today, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, The Buffalo News, Albany Times-Union, Syracuse Post Standard, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, The Toronto Star, The Minority Reporter, Chronogram Journal, Ovi Magazine, CounterPunch, Moria Poetry Journal, Ampersand Literary Review, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, and more.

George's first book of poetry, A Time Before Teachers, is available at


7 Responses

  1. Tim-Brunswick says:

    Where’s the part about wolves also eating the very healthy and the young….seriously are we naïve enough to believe they only eat the weak/sick when they’re starving in the dead of winter. Wolves eat whatever they can take down the easiest and all too often engage in surplus killing!

    Wolves do indeed kill/consume people and it’s an all too frequent occurrence in Europe and Russia. This is “fact” not “fiction” like the above poem….REALLY!

    • Frank says:

      a composition in verse, especially one that is characterized by a highly developed artistic form and by the use of heightened language and rhythm to express an intensely imaginative interpretation of the subject.

    • Suzanne says:

      Tim, there are no wolves in the Adirondacks at present, so one doubts any people will be killed and consumed while out taking the dog for a walk. There are plenty of coyotes around, but no reports of any people having been eaten by them, either, although anyone with any sense would keep cats and small dogs indoors. Have you any statistics to back up your “fact” that wolves frequently kill and consume people in Europe and Russia? Just curious. BTW, poetry is not supposed to be factual. It’s poetry. REALLY.

    • M Leybra says:

      In nature the predator kill is quick unlike the torture of calves for veal & there is no ‘surplus’ killing, all is consumed either for stash or other predators who eat to live. ‘If’ wolves “kill people in Europe or Russia” it’s thru unnatural circumstance since is not their natural prey. Plus there is no danger they will extirpate the entire species as was done to wolves in U.S., Sweden, Denmark, etc. so not to worry.

    • M Leybra says:

      If it’s a “fact” that wolves kill people… no matter in what country, in today’s human eight billion strong global news & social media world, even one unfortunate human killed & consumed by wolves would not escape being exploited. The very least one might expect is an account of something declared as “fact.” And to repeat, the human species will never be impacted by the persecuted wolf. Guaranteed.

  2. George Payne says:

    Thanks for the ethology lesson. Perhaps you can write your own poem.

    • Ethan says:

      Tell ‘em, George!
      Some folks are determined to malign all predator species, and refuse to acknowledge their importance on our landscapes. Guessing the naysayers are of the mindset “wolves are killing OUR deer”. Overall, all species are better of as a whole in the presence of wolves.
      As far as human casualties to wolves, there’s another side of the coin – deaths and injuries attributed to human hunters greatly dilute Tim’s statement.