In the Blink of an Eye

This is another of my “wolf” poems, of which there are many. I was fascinated with wolves when I was young, and read every book about them I could find. This one is being posted on Thursday Poets’ Rally Week 52. Stop in and read some of the wonderful poetry on their site! 

In the Blink of an Eye


Two wolf cubs in a moonlit field

They run and jump and tumble

While mom sniffs out a midnight meal

The little ones snarl and rumble


Teeth barred, their growls of warning

Unheeded by one the other

Run in circles beneath the legs

Of startled hunting mother


Mom gazes after fleeing pups

Returns then to the search

“Who” says owl with golden eyes

From lofty tree limb perch


A low growl escapes wolf mother

Heart beating and filled with fear

She barks a warning to her young

Instructs them to come near


Bird blinks slow then great wings beat

Moon shadow drifts ‘cross the ground

Pups yip, mom growls a warning

Then three watch, make no more sound


Moments pass, the danger gone

Mom resumes the search for food

One eye searches for living meat

The other stays on her brood


Life goes on, the circle turns

The three will live another day

Here, where in the blink of an eye

The hunter becomes the prey


Copyright © 1999 C. Mashburn


  1. Ina said

    Life goes on, the circle turns! Lovely!

  2. Sherry Mashburn said

    Love this!!! Cycle of life . . .

  3. Manoj Kewalramani said

    Absolutely lovely! Loved the end and agree with it… there’s a cycle and then there is a context where roles change.. awesome stuff..

  4. terri0729 said

    Very nice Charles! We have coyotes around my house. One night right outside the livingroom window, I had a bunch of pups yelping for momma. Not a day or so long and the nest of baby bunnies Mark found was gone 😦 . The cycle of life… To everything there is a season, no? Peace and love, Terri

    • Thank you, Terri! I have some good coyote stories, but will save them for blog pieces.
      As always, I appreciate the visit and comments!

  5. manicddaily said

    Really enjoyed that! Even though I’m a vegetarian!

    • Haha! Well, I’m afraid wolves and owls are not vegetarians!
      Thanks for the visit and comments!

  6. Wolves are mysterious and beautiful creatures, I like how you have used their lives to tell the tale of living with the understanding of how brief life is. Well done Charles!

    • Yes, they are mysterious and fascinating!
      Thank you for the visit and comments!

  7. It is always amazing to me how life proceeds and doesn’t need permission! Great write! Thanks for your comment to me, it is so kind of you to read and post!

    • Your welcome for the read, Sherrie. And thank you for stopping byt o read this one.
      Your visits and comments are always appreciated!

  8. The never ending circle of life. Have always had a strange fascination with wolves. What’s the inspiration behind this piece. Was it simply from your childhood fascination?

    Another brilliant piece of writing from a poet, I always look forward to reading your poems Great work Charles

    • Thank you, Lee. This was written about fifteen years ago, and it was during a period of time when I was writing a lot of “wolf” stuff. This one is just one of many where my imagination combined with the knowledge of the wolf to make this poem. I also wrote numerous poems about werewolves during that time, which were inspired by Robert McCammon novels I was reading back then. I will be unveiling the first of those on Gooseberry Picnic next week.
      Thanks again for the awesome comments!

  9. The circle of life…wonderfully written…wolves have always fascinated me…my daughter was once diagnosed with Lupus…they call the rash on the face the “wolf’s mask”

    • I had never heard that about Lupus. Very interesting.
      I appreciate the visit and comments, Susie!

  10. ds said

    “the hunter becomes the prey”–yes, the wheel keeps turning. You capture well the wolf’s maternal instinct. They do fascinate.
    Thank you.

  11. thingy said

    I love wolves. This was a great write. : )

  12. Great piece on a mother’s job 🙂
    Here’s my potluck entry:

  13. shanyns said

    Love this poem, very well done, and truly spoken.

  14. yes you are so right life does go on in a blink of an eye. The hunter and the hunted keep balance in nature

  15. loved the finality of the last lines…

  16. Alcina said

    Awesome..and a very nice story through a poem 🙂


  17. Kay Salady said

    Your words are soothing to the soul despite the topic. You reassure that all is right with the world and everything is as it should be. As ever, a lovely write. Thank you, dear Charles.

    • I am glad you see that side of the story, Kay. It is obscured somewhat by the fear and danger aspect, but it is truly the core of the story. Life goes ”round, and it is what we make of it.
      Thanks for the wonderful comments!

  18. An interesting read and I love tales about mothers protecting their young. A lovely write indeed 🙂

  19. I love the rhythm and the story telling… the turning tide of the chase.. i love nature and it’s complexity. I love our Lord who made it. :] thanks Charlie xx

    • Good to hear from you. I miss your laughing joyful comments! I just read your latest and commented on it. I hope you’re doing okay!

      • I’m doing okay… had some ups and downs… thanks, but I’m blessed to have a heavenly Father who doesn’t fluctuate like I do… He is constant and Faithful and Good. :] xx

      • That’s good to hear. And, you are so right; He never wavers.
        Come back soon!

  20. fiveloaf said

    you have a very keen eye charles.. such acute observation makes it a very nice read! tq for coming by..

  21. antomaniax said

    Very interesting read…Thanks for sharing.

  22. wise conclusion, very thought provoking piece..


  23. Old Raven said

    Love wolves, being a raven … that is only natural. Love the poem too.

  24. Vision of how we can never take life for granted. Even the hunters have a hunter. Every creature must be eve vigilant to continue it kind and yet there is a kinship and love within each creature.


    • I agree, Larry. Thanks for the thought-filled comments! Very much appreciated!

  25. We are all victims of some predator. Life is a cycle. The weak
    will be overpowered by the strong. For me, a bit of a biblical
    tone. Enjoyed this very much, Charles.

  26. Wow, Charles!
    This is such a vivid and fun poem. It is great for this time of year– kind of has Halloween written all over it. It reminds me of some of my favorite Halloween season songs and stories from school when I was a kid.

    Also, those little wolves you write in are so cute, probably even cuter than the ones in the little photo you include.

    This is also one of those poems whose ending really catches me by surprise, since I was just so wrapped up in the scene unfolding in my mind’s eye, and enjoying every second of it.

    I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, looking it over, really, because the suspense, danger and fear are certainly in there throughout– I realize that what you’re saying there at the end, “in the blink of an eye/ The hunter becomes the prey,” is actually that the mama and little wolves are okay– for now– which I guess I also got on first reading, but even the specter of the powerful wolves falling to the threatening birds was something of a shock to me, as I read.

    This poem about wolves reads so well, it is interesting that your knowledge of them came only from reading books as a kid. Great how those childhood animal interests can really spark our imaginations and stick with us well into life– such a pleasure to nurture and build on those fond memories.

    • Wow, right back at you, Elaine. What an awesome comment! I’ve never recieved one so lengty and in-depth. I love it.
      I can see the Halloween feel in this, also, as it does have a spooky feel. And the cuteness of the pups was intentional; they were out to play, while mom took care of business; oblivious to dangers all around them.
      I felt no surprise in the ending, as to me, it was simply “a day in the life” for animals in the wild. Wolf pups–all small animals are food to larger animals, and moms know they must be vigilant if the young ones are to grow up in a world that sees them as nothing but food. The wolf is indeed a powerful animal, but the pups are just pups–small and defenseless, concerned about nothing but fun and frolick.
      I’m glad you enjoyed this poem, and I certainly did enjoy the comments!

  27. Nicely done Charles.

  28. I liked this.

    The subject was touching and interesting.
    I enjoyed the image of the wolf pups in their element.
    The overall poem was entertaining and the last lines were
    great close.
    good work.

    • Thanks very much! One of the main elements I tried to show was the pups not being aware of the danger, yet knowing somehow they must listen to the mother, or suffer dire consquences. They had no idea they could be a midnight meal for the owl.
      I appreciate the visit and comments!

  29. Charles, you should write books! this reminds me of a Dr. Suess story almost. You just have such joy in your words, a lyrical tone and it it so easy to read with a wonderful flow. Its flawless. I envy those who rhyme! I love this!

    • Wow! Thanks, Kellie! What wonderful comments. You started my day off beautifully!

  30. SiNA said

    the hunter DOES become the prey one way or another 🙂

  31. mbwilliams said

    A charmingly told story in poetic form, really good job!

  32. tigerbrite said

    Gosh. Took me ages to scroll down to leave you a comment. I enjoyed thank you. So did lots of others I passed on the way.

  33. ticklyturtle said

    A lesson lived is a lesson learned, especially when the table is turned… Lovely poem. That line prior the comment is a summary of my understanding. ^_^

    • I’m not sure what you mean by “That line prior the comment is a summary of my understanding.” But I appreciate your visit and comment!

  34. Rajlakshmi said

    what a beautiful write. loved the narration and the ending. That’s a part of life.

  35. Leonargo said

    I know I’m not the first but must say I love “Life goes on, the circle turns” and I just saw the Lion King 3D last night so this really is quite epic. 🙂

  36. Lovely action packed story highly descriptive with a lovely ending’ a famous quote’ the hunter becomes the hunted’ Enjoyed greatly

  37. magher1 said

    Nice flow! The circle of life… Makes me feel a bit nostalgic;)

  38. Lovely piece, I really enjoyed it (and not just because you got my two favourite critters in it 😉 )

  39. saya said

    Wow very nicely depicted the circle of life..
    Me likes it 🙂
    Thanks for visiting..

    • You are welcome for my visit, and thank you for stopping by here!
      Your comments are appreciated!

  40. Andy said

    Hello Charles.
    I really enjoyed reading this and the message it implies is spot on.
    Nice images too…wolves are such beautiful creatures.

    Thanks as always for sharing.

    Your Song Of Love

  41. Ector Ward said

    A glimpse of raw nature. Something comforting here.
    Good job, Charles.

  42. caridwen said

    a lovely scene of motherhood in the wild. :o)

  43. clariice said

    A cycle of events. In the blink of an eye,the role changes if we are not careful. So we shall be on alert,lest things change when we are not looking.
    Thanks for crafting this piece.

  44. Teeth barred, their growls of warning Unheeded by one the other Run in circles beneath the legs Of startled hunting mother

    I could see this terrifying scene so vividly! You’re a master! 🙂

  45. A.B. Thomas said

    Superbly done – I must be more deeply “Disney-ized” than I thought as whilst I was reading I could not get the voice of the narrator of all of Disney’s old animal stories out of my head reverberating your words with his down home Southern slang!

    • I like that, A.B.! I’m thrilled that I could get the narrator’s voice going in your head. Thanks for the awesome comments!

  46. Wow! That was quite a poem! It’s like you have personal experience with the way they live. Thank you so much for giving us that glimpse!

    • No personal experience. Just read a lot about them. Love them!
      Thanks for the great comments!

  47. I like dire warnings 🙂

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