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Of the Shadow and the Gray (A Poetry Challenge)


The origin of the challenge...

I've participated in a few Hubpages challenges in the past, yet haven't had the time or opportunity to create one of my own. Nor could I think of any...that is, until I came across two videos. I was compelled to write a poem about them and thought they might pose an interesting and unusual challenge.

In each video (The Gray and The Shadow), a man who is a skilled hunter of wolves is lost in the frozen wilderness, faced with the prospect of his own mortality as wolves follow and surround him in his struggle for survival. (The wolves are part of the metaphor; for example, we can see clearly in The Gray that the black alpha isn't real.) At first, I thought The Gray was a bit too dark. But I was soon fascinated with the stark differences and striking similarities in the existential theme, and the courage, desolation and profound beauty present in both videos.

The rules of the challenge are simple...

Write a poem about elements within both videos that capture your imagination. You may use any style of poetry -- Haiku, rhyme, free verse or prose -- whatever you wish. This is a blank canvass with which you can create words and imagery from wherever this visual journey takes you. The only caveat is that the poem cannot exceed eighty words in length.

I will include links to any hubs written in response to this challenge, as they occur. If you prefer, you can include your poem in the comment section.

The Gray...


The Shadow

My own brief poem that melds both videos appears below. I wrote this while listening to the music of "I Am Your Shadow."

I watch through cold windows

As the howling echoes swell

In this land of the fallen

Scroll to Continue

Where our lost snow dreamers dwell;

The taken and the given

Still mark the path behind

In footsteps long forgotten

Our fate with nature finds;

Fear not my beloved

For I wait beyond the fray

In that tender wisp of breath

Between the shadow and the gray.


The following are links to our wonderful poets who created a hub in response to this challenge. You will find more remarkable responses in the comments below.

I want to thank everyone for participating and for encouraging others. When reading the poetry written in response to this challenge, we find inspiration, while seeing something new with each individual perspective and dimension that is so beautifully expressed. I am proud to be a member of this uniquely talented, supportive community.

Jodah - Shadows of the Grey (One of the Pack)

Audrey Howitt - You Take My Eyes

AnnArt - Raw Nature

Bravewarrior - The Winter of My Life

  • The Winter of My Life
    Life is full of challenges. The ones I appreciate the most are those that awaken my muse, cause reflection, and compel me to create. This is my response to a poetry challenge posed by Genna East.

Ocfireflies - Between Breaths Eclipse

Shyron E Shenko - Ghost of Love Shadows of Fear

Suzettenaples - The Wolf; the Gray & the Shadow

CrisSp - A Tail of Winter

  • Tail of winter
    Toronto is Canada's largest city and the capital of Ontario, located northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. Winter in the city, which starts from December and usually ends by early March is cold and often snowy. Daytime temperatures in December, January

Kari Paulsen- Cold-A Poem



Copyright Notice

Poetry written and copyrighted by Genna Eastman (Genna East); September, 2015. All rights reserved.

Said copyrights and ownership do not extend to the videos:

The Gray: From Jules Daly's The Gray with Liam Neeson; music by Marc Streitenfeld. Video created by iptameno kapelo of YouTube.

The Shadow: Music by Lisa Gerrard "Sanvean (I Am Your Shadow)," from the album "Facing The Wrong Way." Video created by Loves Great Ebb and Flow of YouTube.


Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on March 04, 2021:

Hello Manav...

Thank you. I will read this soon and attach your wonderful contribution to this hub. I'm a tad bit unde rthe weather right now.

Hello dearest Ruby...

I just hate the new Letter Pile and the restricted ways in which comments can be added. Haven't quite mastered the "art" of this new feature. And the churlish bombardment of ads is a bit makes reading our hubs very challenging.

I am healing slow but sure. I hope to return to HP by the first week of April. Thanks so much for asking. Hugs right back, my beloved friend! :-)

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on March 03, 2021:

Oh, how I love the days when we all got together and wrote our heart's out and could comment on the written page. Now, so many ads our poetry gets lost. How are you Genna? I hope you are healing. Hugs

Manav Verma from india on March 03, 2021:

Hi Genna ..although I m 5 years late for this challenge I really liked the idea behind it. I wrote the challenge today and I m glad I did it. It gave me a new perspective today...I am going to publish it on my page though......

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on June 05, 2019:

Hi Mike... Our paths are what life's all about. I'm pleased that this remembrance is what you needed, although I won't ask what led you here again. It's just good to see you. Thank you, my friend. :-)

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on June 04, 2019:

Hello Genna - I can't tell you the path I followed that lead me back here tonight. But this remembrance, seems just what I needed. You write with such an agile pen.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on December 03, 2017:

Hi Kari...thank you and I so agree. I am off to read your wonderful poem!

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on December 02, 2017:

I read all the linked poems. It amazes me how we humans respond so differently to the same videos. People truly are amazing and unique! :)

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on December 02, 2017:

I love challenges! I published my poem. It is called, "Cold-A Poem". Thanks for having this challenge. :)

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on October 17, 2016:

Thank you! So good to see you.

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on October 15, 2016:

Hey Gen, very nice poetry

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on May 28, 2016:

Thank you Ruby. I so enjoyed this project and the poetry submitted by other hubbers -- including yours, my friend. :-)

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on May 23, 2016:

I saw that you had received a comment and I returned to read your beautiful poem once again. Cheers :- )

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on May 23, 2016:

Sorry I'm late, Peg. I'm happy to hear about your website and hope it's going well. I will visit, soon. Thanks so much for the comment. :-)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 14, 2016:

Hi Genna,

Loved reading your poem and I like the idea that you have inspired others to write theirs. Afraid I am too busy with my own website right now to even consider doing this. Your poetry is always worth reading. I also enjoyed some of the poetry in the comments.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on March 05, 2016:

Thank you! I'm sorry to be a bit late, but I am off you read your contribution. :-)

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on March 02, 2016:

I love the drama of this hub along with the video. Beautiful and very clever!

Thank you for the reminder to go through my old hubs. Here's my contribution.

Love from the sky~

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on January 20, 2016:

Thank you, Rajan. Your words echo what I was trying to achieve with the poem. I think our fellow hubbers and poets did beautifully with their contributions. :-)

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 20, 2016:

Two contrasting videos that raised a range of emotions. The videos haunt for long after. Your poem captures these so beautifully.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on December 19, 2015:

There have been wonderful contributions to this challenge. I so appreciate your visit and kind comment. Thank you.

ignugent17 on December 16, 2015:

Wonderful poem! I was not able to join this challenge but I am glad to read your poem.

Have a good day!

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on December 14, 2015:

I look forward to reading it, Nadine. :-)

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on December 03, 2015:

I will give it a try in the new year. Who knows I might surprise myself he.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on November 12, 2015:

Thank you, Nadine. Sorry I'm a little late. I'm happy this gave you some ideas; I think you would write wonderful poetry, by the way.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on November 06, 2015:

Wow what a great idea to write a poem after looking at these videos. I'm hopeless writing poetry, but you have given me ideas.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on November 03, 2015:

@Rabadi Thank you! :-)


I just left this comment on your stunning hub:

Thank you for participating in this challenge, Suzette. And what a truly moving poem, written with deep compassion. I have to say that it is one of my favorites. It also reminds me a little of Jodi Picoult's novel, "Lone Wolf." The sections I just love focus on Luke's experience living with a wild wolf pack in Canada for nearly two years. His story brings these magnificent, shy predators into the light. How they eventually accept him into the pack (their family unit) is mesmerizing. You have given these fascinating creatures a unique soul that many do not see. :-)

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on November 01, 2015:

Genna: I love your poem and the images you portray. The videos are wonderful too. I am taking you up on your challenge and I will see what I can do.

TruthisReal from New York on November 01, 2015:

Simply beautiful, keep it going! You earned a new follower.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on October 31, 2015:


Thank you! Our fellow poets wrote extraordinary and profound words in this has been an experience I treasure. :-)


Hi Martie. I so agree..."profound and touching" describes their contributions perfectly. And no worries...I know you are very busy. By the way, I think your travelogues about Africa have a beautiful sense of poetry, Martie. You have a deft touch with both words and images that is unique. Thank you for the visit and comments.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on October 26, 2015:

Oh, Genna, what a beautiful poem! Also the contributions I have read are profound and touching. I wish I had time to participate, but my time for writing has been severely cut by reality. Hope to be free again soon :)

Awesome challenge!

Nell Rose from England on October 26, 2015:

Ooh love this! so atmospheric! love the poem and the videos!

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on October 25, 2015:

My sincere apologies in being so late in responding, but I've been recovering from a nasty flu bug...a leftover souvenir from traveling it seems. Sometimes vacations bestow gifts we don't anticipate. :-)


I loooove your's one of my favorites! Thank you so much for participating. Hugs. :-)


Thank you. Coming from a poet I deeply admire and respect, your words mean much to me. I think everyone who participated wrote beautifully; with a unique vision and perception.


Mary, I think you would write beautiful poetry; if you ever think about giving it a try, please do! You are such a talented writer...the words of a poet are there, my dear friend. Our community of writers is amazing -- isn't it? :-) Thanks so much for that kind comment.

Mary Craig from New York on October 25, 2015:

Genna this entire hub was just beautiful. The depth of feeling and flowing emotions can't even be imagined without the wonderful words you have used to show us.

Poetry is not my thing and as much as I would like to try your challenge I feel I would do it a disservice. There are so many talented and beautiful responses, you have opened a vein of creativity.

Audrey Howitt from California on October 22, 2015:

I hope you are doing well Genna--I love your poetry--and I think there are a couple of responses to this that I have missed. So going off to check them out now.

ahorseback on October 07, 2015:

I was caught point blank in surprise

the wolf in the midnight moon

Instantly sizing me up and down in his reflecting

eye's far , far too soon

I was his if he chose or his to ignore

as he pleased

He turned slowly away exposing his flank

and away from me he eased

Since then I've hunted up the trappers

and trapped them in my sights

and more and more I listen

to wolves howling in dark nights

We are one now the wolf and the man

I will guard him with my life

and soon we are to be reunited

and share one vision one life

Today I saw him again and in the light

of the moon we found new meaning

the wolf and I are one now and

we howl now in the midnight gleaning

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on October 07, 2015:

My apologies for not responding earlier, but I was out of town for the better part of a week, and am now only getting caught up.


You are my heroine, and my example. If I can do half as well as you in retirement, I will consider myself both lucky and blessed. Hugs.


Thank you! I think our community of poets did splendidly with this challenge. Aren't they amazing? Good to see you.


I'm on my way to your hub! Thank you for participating. :-)

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on October 05, 2015:

Genna, here is the link to my answer to your challenge,

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 04, 2015:

You're such a creative spirit, and I enjoyed reading both your beautiful poem as well as other contributions. Marvelous.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on September 28, 2015:

Good for you, being eager to embrace each new surprise with its new challenges! It keeps one fully alive at every age! Sadly, even younger folks can settle and get stuck. Not you! Not I!

Certainly for these 20 or so of retirement years, I've found them as busy, if not more so! There are both imperative projects and discretionary ones! Each corner manages to present its surprises, too, and they tend also to be challenges, increasingly so with the years. With them may come path changes - or detours. Such was the accident of last April in which I sprained both wrists, which was challenging, since I live alone in a 2-story house. Some priority juggling was needed, but it had its recompenses, too.

I'm just thankful to have lots of energy and excellent health. Still, overall, it's not the same as it was in previous decades! haha. But that adds its unique challenges which keep one fully alive and bring opportunities to learn new methods and 'workarounds', as George would call strategies to manage obstacles which could otherwise deter a plan or course of action. It's almost a kind of art or an intellectual course. It feels exhilarating, and needn't stop one's lifetime passions and projects.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on September 27, 2015:


Thank you, Mike. What a lovely compliment. I added back the third stanza which I removed before publishing. I was afraid that someone might be reticent to try Haiku if other poems were more lengthy; but this didn't happen. So, I added it back in.


We miss you too! But we understand that life has many paths. I have heard that retirement can be quite busy...I guess for me it's a case of "the grass is always greener..." I suspect that surprises are around each corner, which I await eagerly. Hugs. :-)

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on September 27, 2015:

No problem, Genna. But I must warn you that retirement can turn out to be the busiest time of one's life. Plus, one knows it's all nearly one's own choices, but they're as imperative as before, even though not as imposed upon one. They're also among the happiest. Only warning is that the golden years are among the busiest.

I hope to get more into the hubs. When I'm not. I so miss it and everyone.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on September 27, 2015:

Hey, it only took me nine days to find the word. The last line of your poem is exquisite.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on September 27, 2015:

My apologies for not responding sooner but I've been on the Vineyard this past week doing some research.


Ann, I am so honored that you participated. I loved both your poetry and prose. :-)


No worries, my dear friend. I often don't have the time to respond to many of the challenges. I work 8-10 hours a day, and I find that I have to juggle many things just to find to time to read these days, it seems. I look forward to retirement! :-) I'm so pleased that you found this project interesting; thank you for the visit and for that special comment. Our community of poets are wonderful. Some of the best poetry I've ever read is here on the Hub...especially yours. Hugs.


Hi Rasma. Thank you for the visit. I know exactly what you mean about time constraints. I'm just pleased you found the challenge interesting, and hope you are enjoying your weekend.

@Romeos Quill

Thank you, again, for participating, and for your encouragement.

@Peg Cole

HI Peg. Thank you. The responses to this challenge were magnificent...each with their own interpretation and unique style. My poem consisted of three stanzas originally but I removed one as I didn't want hubbers to feel that they had to follow my lead, so to speak. We have so much talent on the's truly inspiring and humbling.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on September 25, 2015:

Genna, This was stunning both in the challenge to write on the subject and the intensity of the video. There are some fine poetic entries here and in the responses from your readers. That video was really heavy but compelling to watch. Your poem was awesome and powerful.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on September 22, 2015:

Thank you RQ, :)

Romeos Quill from Lincolnshire, England on September 22, 2015:

Hey! Thanks a million snakeslane and I thought that your take on Genna East's challenge was pretty cool too.

The diversity exhibited by all the contributors on the same subject matter was good to digest and your own poem seemed to envelop the latent horror with a calming serenity - great job, and thanks for a thoughtful read.



Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on September 20, 2015:

It is a great idea and I just love wolf poem. However at the moment much too much on my plate so this challenge I will pass up. Best of luck to all who take up the challenge.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on September 20, 2015:

This will take time and thought for me, though I'm instantly awed by your concept and work, as well as by those who have responded.

However, it's just not how I write. I'm poor at responding to challenges and contests and am not much better at addressing dark subject unless they occur to me or sweep over me spontaneously, which is usually an exception rather than a rule, but in any case, is purely personal. I'm not even sure I can claim what I do as being a craft.

I'm so impressed by what you've done here and what those responding have done. I just happened onto snakeslane's poem, which led me here to see what it responded to. Glad for that!! Hugs.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 20, 2015:

Thank you, Genna, for the compliment. I'm proud to be a member of this amazing site too. It's great being amongst so many who care about their craft.

BTW, you inspired me so much that I've also written some prose as an offshoot to this; can't stop thinking about it!

Hope your weekend's going well.


Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on September 19, 2015:

I want to thank everyone for participating and for encouraging others. When reading the poetry written in response to this challenge, we find inspiration, and see something new with each, individual perspective and dimension that is so beautifully expressed! I am proud to be a member of this uniquely talented community.

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on September 19, 2015:

Wow. Your poem is amazing, Kim. And written with your own unique style. Bravo, my friend. I thought about the word length as the one rule for this challenge. I was worried that writers of Haiku might be discouraged if other poems were far lengthier. And, many of the best poems I've read on the Hub are less than 80 words in length. You are an example of this, my poet friend. Thank you. :-)

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on September 19, 2015:

Hi Kim...

I'm on my way over to read your poem. :-)

ocfireflies from North Carolina on September 19, 2015:

Mr response:

(I was not sure how to present the challenge without using your own stuff, so I included the link to your hub. Please let me know if that is unacceptable.)

May not find it-HP-says needs more words...

Thanks Genna for giving me such an adventure.

Thanks for giving so many of us an opportunity to play.



Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on September 19, 2015:


Hello, and thank you for your visit and comments.

I had the very same thoughts as you about "The Gray" --- until I saw the final seconds of the film. The final scene does not appear until after the credits. (I almost missed it.) The same holds true in The Gray video above; the final seconds do not appear until the after the black screen. The body of the dying wolf lies in the snow. Neeson lies on the snow in front of him, although we do not see his face or body, save for the back of his head which rests on the wolf's body, moving slightly with each closing breath. Neeson is the alpha man; the wolf is the alpha of his pack although we can tell the wolf isn't real and is symbolic of something.

This hearkens back to the beginning of the film where Neeson has just shot a wolf that was running to attack two men working in the snow fields. He leans over and strokes the wolf, feeling each breath of the wolf as he dies in the snow.

For me, those final seconds made the entire film; it was the connecting glue, so to speak, that defined the existential theme.

It's good to see you...and I hope you are enjoying you weekend! :-)

Genna East (author) from Massachusetts, USA on September 19, 2015:


I just left a comment on your hub. I loved your poem, and am pleased that this challenge awakened your spirit and muse.

"Guiding me on the path to myself.

Guiding me to the fork in the road

Where I must choose."

The spirit...and the choices...I think this lies at the very heart of these videos, which you have expressed beautifully. Thank you for bringing perception and inspiration to this challenge with your poetry. :-)