The Hunters Return

This could be any town in Belgium.
A winter scene that constantly repeats itself,
Enshrouded by snow,
Awaiting the hunters’ return.
The valley opens up expectantly before them,
Checkered by blue-green ponds dotted with playful children.
The distant mountains loom menacingly with
Sharp, jagged teeth of rock
As a Northern wind whips down
To kindle a nearby fire into roaring tongues of flame.
To pierce leather hunters’ coats as they shiver
And bow their heads to the bitter cold
Sweeping downward from the view before them
And their dogs whine and curl up their tails like
Untried party favors.
The town before them is enduring.
Full of life.
It will outlast this winter.
There is a pattern here in the children’s play
As they go curling out on the ice.
Women and old people tend cooking fires
Oblivious to the old half-fallen inn’s sign
Dangling precariously above their heads
With its faded, weatherbeaten colors illegible at a distance.
The daily routine comes to a close
While high above them, in a curiously uncloudy
Blue-green winter sky, black birds circle overhead
In search of food,
Wondering at the curious reflection of black bodies
Cavorting across the frozen skies below.