The Last Wolf

this is another of the pieces I have been putting together with my mind firmly fixed on the environment and our impact on it.


The Last Wolf
By Dave Kavanagh

The Old She Wolf

The Mountain rises o’er the valley track in the dying winter light
She stirs from cover then, once proud daughter of the night
She ventures out in darkness, a stray long left behind
No pack or mate to run with now, she is the last of her kind

All about snow covers the hard and frozen ground
Scent of cow and sheep, tracks and scat abound
She turns old greyed muzzle keening softly then
But none of her pack reply to her nor ever will again

Her body is reduced to just skin and jutting bone
She is an ancient of her race not born to hunt alone
Reduced to scavenge from man’s barns and stinking sty
Once a valiant hunter, now she waits her time to die

She trots on alone now from her solitary daytime hide
Four shadows, ghosts of wolves trot silently by her side
Whelp mates, two small brother dogs and a mated pair
Now mist creatures only of the cold and frosted air

In her own memory she recalls their springtime birth
Deep within a bluebell wood their dam had built her earth
And growing strong from spring, to the first winter day
Learning to be lupus from her dam and the pack in boisterous play

Then driven with her whelp mates from her dam’s pack
To find and guard new territory on the valley track
To join with other whelps in the mating dance
And breed new generations and insure continuance

The Hunter

Finabar is tired his pack weighs heavy on his back
The cold is biting deep but then he sees a single track
The depth of pad and splay of toe, no fox or dog would boast
It’s her at last, for twenty nights he’s tracked a living ghost

His blood pumps now, his weariness forgotten
He sees then her lair beneath a fallen oak decayed and rotten
More tracks and the stink of her she’s not long past
He sees then the trail and set the hounds to running fast

Bran and Kitog bay and bark as they strike the scent
And run in tandem, hunting hounds on the kill intent
Finabar blows hard and fast as he follows in their wake
Thinking of the quarry and the last wolf pelt to take

In younger days he’d hunted in the mountains and the wood
And the life was fair to his liking and the hunting ever good
But the bounty set by Cromwell in the spring of fifty four
Brought rapine beasts from Britain by the score

And they fell in tens and twenties, blood on the valley track
And the she wolves stopped their pupping, the packs under attack
And still the lustful killers searched on land and shore
And the children of the land died by the bloody score 

Finabar grew sick then, of blood and pelts piled high
And he left his island home to hunt beneath a different sky
He dreamt of wolves in Ireland, running wild and free
As he slept in thorn and bush in dark Mali

The Pack

The pack in spirit only, run along the valley track
Ancient creature here since before the snow and ice came back
In pack memory twenty thousand years they ruled this Eden fair
Dreamt in dens of running down the great elk and the bear

They cry now for the pups and the whelps lost to the bloody slaughter
As they run in search for last of them, a proud and aged daughter
Mac Tire, The son of Eire his howl echoes far and wide
And the pack run on the valley track beneath the mountain side

They hear ahead the hounds as they run in violent chase
And they drift on above the mist at a ghostly pace
They sense their sister in the night, her heart beating hard and fast
Death is closing in on her, she’ll not much longer last.

The Old She Wolf

The hounds are close, she can hear them bark and bay
She will run no more but stand and fight as is her way
She finds a rock face on the mountain to protect her back
Turns to face the killing hounds that bound down the valley track

She died there in a battle, she was brave and fierce as she could be 
One dark wolf hound his throat ripped out died also in the harsh melee
But her age and strength failed her and she fell there on the valley track
The last wolf in Ireland her pelt wet with blood along her broken back.

Finabar came then and beat the hound off her, she’s dying fast
He knelt close beside and stayed with her until she breathe her last
She turned to him her green eyes regarding her killer as she died
And Finabar felt the tears of shame as he knelt down by her side.

The pack came and they licked then her bright and beautiful face
And among her pack she ran at speed from that awful killing place
But before she left she look once more, with forgiveness back
At the hunter who had set her free at last along the valley track.


© Dave Kavanagh @

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