for Timothy Murphy
Hunter, when you are pursued,
kneel and let the hounds go past.
All our demons, first and last,
fear the scent of solitude.
As the lamas of Tibet
fling paper horses on the air
to rescue pilgrims from despair
when caught in winter's wiry net,
so take from me, a distant friend
who cannot reach you at your source,
the courage in a paper horse
that counsels you to rest and mend.
Though the winter chills you numb,
let the demon hounds race through.
Strength is storing up for you.
Hunter, you will overcome.
Gail White is the author of The Accidental Cynic (a winner of the Anita Dorn Memorial Award for Poetry), and Easy Marks (a nominee for the Poets Prize). She has recent work in First Things, Able Muse, and Evansville Review. She lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana with her husband and cats.