Copyright © Isabella Dalzell 2020. All RIghts Reserved.



She-Wolf by instinct alone

navigates traditional tracks

untrodden for two hundred

years. Ousted from her pack

fleeing the new Alphas after

the death of her own Alpha-Male.


She-Wolf treks four thousand miles

from the Italian Dolomites

across the mountainous terrains

of Austria and Switzerland

through foxgloved forests edged

with willowherb and gooseberry

spiked fern nestling strawberries

and the scatter of fir cones.


She-Wolf scrapes a den,

gives birth sheltered by a fallen log.

In the mountain hide pups are born

blind and deaf, littermates

weaned in isolation snuggling

soft chin upon spiny back.


She-Wolf is forced to leave them

hidden in the undergrowth

in her search for food

keeping far from humans

and the territories of others.

Helpless they wait, chin on

outstretched paws, ears cocked

in curiosity, sniffing the breeze.


She-Wolf scavenges, scratching

for grubs and reptiles, nibbles

berries and bitter grasses

finds an occasional snack

of carrion, a mouse or hare

brings them home for the pups.


Alone the pups are prey

for crouching wildcat hunting

to feed her own kittens and

white-faced Eagle floating high

amidst the thermals. But

tentative steps are taken.

Soon the pups are outward bound

playful, leaping.


She-Wolf journeys on

six pups trotting close behind

following the invisible trail

astonished by every leaf

and twig, every lizard, every beetle

every movement of the wind.


She-Wolf, from a mountain ridge

surveys an impasse, the trail

now smothered by concrete

in the valley far below.

Leads them cautiously

down the rubbled slopes,

through the night-time city

through twisting backstreets.


Takes them past all dangers

and across the glowing bridge

to ford the vast and turbulent

river passing through the valley

to re-join the mountain trail on the

other side whilst the humans sleep.


She-Wolf leads them to a new

home. Finally, they reach the

green-sloped sanctuary of

Mercantour, it’s bouldered

river penning them safe

its tributaries breaking free

from pipes and irrigating the

vegetal plots of the homesteaders.


She-Wolf sits alone

front paws outspread, triangular

astride karst limestone peak

shrouded by leafy oak and fir

raises her white throat to salute

the moon with baleful yowl.


She is heard.


A young male swims across the lake

into a tobacco-tinted dusk.