Like some rough beast making for his lair,
he slouches home across the moors, louche,
lupine, the wind and rain wuthering
round his ears and blustering with him
through the door he slams open. Mud
from his boots mars the fresh scrubbed floor.
He kicks a stool out of his way, tosses
his coat at the pegs on the wall;
it misses and crumples to the ground.
This is no shaggy dog ready to laze before
the fire, wagging its burr-stuck tail:
this is the wolf, his stance a challenge,
brooding, morose, braced for a blow,
ready to return it.
His wife in her parlor looks up from her three-
volume novel at the racket of his arrival.
Her hands tighten on the arms of her chair.
The room is warm and scented with rose petals
and lavender in a porcelain bowl. A log fire
crackles in the grate. The furniture is sparse,
but the cushions in the polished-oak chairs
are blue, the curtains velvet, heavy, made
to shut out the chill blast of the Yorkshire wind.
She is bright and alert as some moorland bird,
soft feathered, but keen of eye. He enters,
disrupting peace, ending tranquility. He shakes
his lank hair, scattering raindrops.
His eyes meet hers.
She propels herself from her chair, arms
strangling his neck-cloth, warm lips meeting
his ice-hard mouth. His arms close round
her, melding her to himself. Wife and husband,
wolf and bird, blur into one.
*Dedicated to Ralph Fiennes