rabbit pausing in grass
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What The Hare Said At The Crossroads by Daniel A. Rabuzzi

In the half-salt haze-lands,

Along the tween-light marches,

I met a great crowned hare at crossroads.

His flanks pale upon

An impious greywacke throne

Tall, lean and haughty,

He lowered

With his necklace golden

And eyes that saw my core.

“Which way? You ask”

He said and laughed.

“Classic choice, you know your tales,

Leftwise: briars, thorns, a 'starved ignoble nature'

Rightwise: myrtle, blooms, a salved uncommon station.”

I glanced each way

[ ! ]

[ ! ]

My heart on fire,

Sick for his advice, yet

Shy of sly and tricksy counsel.

I glanced, I peered

[ ! ]

[ ! ]

My breathing raw,

My thinking wary.

“Quick now, mortal!”

He thumped one mighty foot.

“Hopscotch and widdershins!

“Left and right may turn about,

Whose left, whose right?”

So I chose too rash, in haste;

A choice once made cannot be amended.

And now I grasp to glimpse him,

His crown, pale fur and necklace gilded,

Amongst the weeds and burdock.


Daniel A. Rabuzzi has had two novels, five short stories and twenty poems published. He lived eight years in Norway, Germany and France, and earned degrees in the study of folklore and mythology, and European history. He lives in New York City with his artistic partner & spouse, the woodcarver Deborah A. Mills, and the requisite cat. Tweets @TheChoirBoats

Author's note

My inspirations for "What The Hare Said At The Crossroads" include Browning's "Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came" (hence the "starved ignoble nature" quote) and the legends of meeting the Devil at the crossroads...but above all of the role of the hare as a trickster, a messenger, a ruler in the interstitial realms (Terri Windling summarizes folklore about hares from around the world here). I think the King of the Hares may be a guise for Hermes, perhaps in his role as psychopomp—sitting on a throne that may be one of his wayfinding cairns. I believe the tropes from folklore and mythology speak to our deepest human needs, regardless of where and when—and my poem thus finds a fitting home at Carmina, whose mission is to "showcase how the stories of the past are still creatively relevant in the modern day."