My grandfather knew he was an animal.
He kept a notebook with the timetable
for all the trains to Epping, the olden forest
where he’d disappear for days. He’d nest
inside a hollow tree. I imagine him waking,
damp and pearly light across the clearing,
a Muntjac watching on the other side, the way
that animals do -- neighbor, predator, prey?
Once he took his children there at dawn
and walked them on the grassland without shoes.
Deep in the braided woods, he stood them on
the right side of the wind, to stop the deer
from scenting them, and have them sniff the air
for fox and musk. They were animals too.
A. C. Grayling