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Shadows of Grey - One of the Pack

John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded the "Best Poet 2014 and 2021" Hubby Awards.


A Poetry Challenge

Fellow hubber Genna East has issued a poetry challenge based on two wonderful videos that offer different takes on the popular man vs wolf scenario.

Genna provided the following guidelines:

"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."

Here is one of the videos. Read Genna's hub to watch the other video "The Grey" as well.

Shadows of Grey (One of the Pack)

Howling cries in the night

Cut through wilderness of white.

One man lost and alone,

Thinking of his wife at home.

≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈

Icy air invades each breath,

Nature's law is life or death.

Fleeting shadows come and go

As he battles through the snow.

≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈

Aware of many wolfish eyes,

Stalking stealthily their prize.

Scroll to Continue

Waiting for his strength to wane,

Soon they'll ease their hunger pain.

≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈

Often man's a blinded fool,

Nature isn't always cruel.

Many shades of grey in fact,

You're really just one of the pack.

A scene from The Grey

A scene from The Grey

Note to Genna

Genna, thank you for setting this interesting challenge. I loved your own poem which you used as an example, and feel it will be difficult for anyone to better. I really enjoyed the videos and writing my interpretation through this poem.

My only complaint is that you set a maximum word limit of 80 and try as I might I was unable to reduce my poem to less than 86. It originally came in at 92 words and I managed to trim six off that in the end. That being said, I was quite pleased with the final poem and I hope you feel it is a worthy response.

Check Out Genna's Hub

  • 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...

© 2015 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 08, 2020:

Yes, Shauna it is strange how we can be redirected to things in a roundabout way, to be given a new perspective or lesson we need in our life. I agree, Nature has the answers and only by heeding it and working with it can we turn things around. The native people around the world all seemed to know this, but unfortunately our society seems to have forgotten.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on February 08, 2020:

John, this revisit has really affected me. The video you shared I had forgotten in the original challenge. I think it's probably the one that inspired me to respond to Genna's challenge.

The last stanza of your poem epitomizes the video above. Nature isn't always our death. Rather, if we learn to see life from all perspectives, Nature is life and can save us. But only if we do our part do stop the destruction of Nature.

It's ironic that revisiting this post comes with the perspective of the destruction we are now causing a mere five years later.

So sad.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on December 02, 2017:

Thank you Kari. Much appreciated :)

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on December 02, 2017:

Very nice poem! :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 10, 2017:

Thanks for reading another of my hubs, GalaxyRat. Feel free to use that quote and image.

GalaxyRat on June 10, 2017:

Loved the poem, and the saying, "Throw me to the wolves and I'll come back leading the pack". Saved that picture and I'm planning on making it my wallpaper.

Thanks for writing this!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 25, 2015:

You are too kind Mary. Comments like this humble me. I am glad you found this poem to be worthy of praise. Have a great week.

Mary Craig from New York on October 25, 2015:

I am in awe of your talent. This is a magnificent poem with so much leading to thought and interpretation. It is beautiful and a more than worthy answer to Genna's Challenge.

While I am usually up for a challenge, poetry is not my thing, and after reading this beautiful poem I know I would be way out of my league!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 04, 2015:

Thank you Flourish, yes I couldn't resist that image when I saw it.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 04, 2015:

A beautiful, vivid poem, and that lead image is gorgeous.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 01, 2015:

Thank you Lawrence. Much appreciated.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 01, 2015:


I loved the poem


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 27, 2015:

Aw Deb, thank you for such a generous comment. Much appreciated.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on September 27, 2015:

I believe you did an outstanding job with this poem. The finale was perfect, which really sets you apart from so many other poets.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 26, 2015:

Hi lollyj, poetry challenges aren't for everyone but I love them. Glad you enjoyed this poem though and that my choice of photos added to it.

Laurel Johnson from Washington KS on September 26, 2015:

I'm not up for a poetry challenge but loved your poem and enjoyed the thoughts behind Genna's challenge. The photos really added great emphasis to your word pictures. Well done!!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 25, 2015:

Hi Brian, thanks for reading this, your kind comment, and follow. Yes, man often thinks he is superior and that he is just really part of the animal world, especially if trapped in the wild where life and death are just part of surviving. Sometimes it's good just to be "one of the pack".

B Brian Hill on September 25, 2015:

Very vivid language! All we are is dust in the wind, or as you so eloquently stated, "one of the pack." a meaningful thought too often overlooked. I enjoyed your language and emotion in this poem.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 23, 2015:

Thank you Vellur, I appreciate your generous comment. It was a great challenge by Genna.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 22, 2015:

Beautifully penned. Could see and feel every word, great write and a great challenge.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 22, 2015:

Hey Jackie, always good to see a comment from you. Glad you loved this, thank you so heaps.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on September 22, 2015:

Wow this is a winner and the whole composition you put together shows talent! I loved it.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 22, 2015:

Thank you Snakeslane. I did try to incorporate aspects of both films though my poem probably leaned a little more heavily towards the "shadows" one. Thanks for the compliments on the last line which I feel needs to be good to leave an impression on the reader.Glad you like the photos too. Cheers.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on September 22, 2015:

Hi Jodah, I like what you've done with Genna's awesome challenge. Your poem reflects and resonates the theme in both films, and your last line hits home on so many different levels. Excellent photos you found to support the piece. :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 20, 2015:

Thank you for the kind words Marion, glad you enjoyed this.

Marion Drury from Sydney, Australia on September 20, 2015:

Great poem once again John. I love the vivid images you conveyed with your words.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 20, 2015:

Thanks Diana, I think humans have an awful lot in common with wolves, although wolves usually work together for the benefit of the pack. People often fight and argue within a society and cause its downfall.

Dianna Mendez on September 20, 2015:

Excellent work! I could see myself facing those wolves in the brutal cold. We are sometimes similar to wolves in nature.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

Genna, I totally agree. These challenges on HP really seem to bring the community of creative writers together and result in such diverse and inspirational writing. It's my favourite part of Hub Pages.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

Thank you Ruby, I always appreciate your comments. Cheers.

Genna East 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.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on September 19, 2015:

This is beautiful John. You captured the scene perfectly. Bravo..

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

Thank you MsDora. I am glad you enjoyed this poem. I feel the conclusion is the most important part of a poem and if I can nail that, I am happy.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

Hello Dana, thanks for that kind comment. I try :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

Thank you Shauna for your support. I think I read that you have published a response to this challenge. I need to go check it out. Blessings.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

Wow! drbj...I can handle "perfect" as a comment any day. Thanks.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

Thanks Larry, much appreciated.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 19, 2015:

No surprise, Jodah , that you were able to create a handsome response to the challenge. Even in a short poem, you manage a great conclusion.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on September 19, 2015:

Jodah, what can I say. As always you rise up to any challenge. Good work my friend.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 19, 2015:

John, as always, you produced an excellent response to Genna's challenge.

I love reading various authors' interpretations and inspiration to prompts, challenges, etc.

You always step up to the plate and never disappoint!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on September 19, 2015:

That was more than a merely worthy response, Jodah. It was pefect!

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on September 19, 2015:

Beautifully done.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

Thank you so much Venkatachari.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on September 19, 2015:

Wonderful response with beautiful poetry.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

Thanks Diana, I find these challenges great inspiration if you are ever suffering a case of writer's block or your muse has gone on vacation ;)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

Thank you Eric, so do I :)

Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on September 19, 2015:

Enjoyed what I've seen so far. It inspired me or sure.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 19, 2015:

I just sit here in awe. Thank you

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

Hey Kim, thanks for ranking my response on a level with Genna's great poem. It isn't really a competition though just a way of inspiring go ahead and write yours and I know it will be fantastic and probably lift the bar even higher.

ocfireflies from North Carolina on September 19, 2015:

Between your response and Genna's, it makes it tough to feel like one can take on this challenge. Still, I want to try...Great Job my friend.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

ps, what can I say after such a wonderful comment. I guess poetry just comes naturally to me. I just need a theme and start to write without any real planning and somehow I manage to convey a message and it just seems to fall into place. I envy other writers such as novelists who can keep a readers interest over 100s of pages. Something I could never do. thanks for the angels, and I hope editbot leaves "splendiferous" well alone.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on September 19, 2015:

'just one of the pack...' yes we are.

A metaphor for life? Our journey is circuitous and fraught with danger...but often we find our way....

I am always in awe of poetry that expresses so well an idea or feeling.. creating poems is not a talent of mine.

You, on the other hand, are splendiferous at it...(I imagine an editbot will change this word!!!)

Angels are on the way to you even before

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John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2015:

Thank you Sujaya.

sujaya venkatesh on September 19, 2015:

a poet indeed Jo

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2015:

Hey Frank, the title "poet" sits well with me. Thank you for that. This was a challenge right up my alley :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2015:

Shyron, I can handle "beautiful, sad and lonely". Thanks for your kind comment and for sharing.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on September 18, 2015:

Jodah.. Poet is you and you are Poet.. so I knew you'd bang this one out just perfect...:)

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on September 18, 2015:

Oh John this is beautiful, so sad and lonely. I am sure you made Genna proud.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2015:

Prof Liway, thank you for reading another of my hubs. Your support is much appreciated.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2015:

Faith, I always appreciate you reading my hubs and look forward to your comments. This was certainly my kind of challenge and it came around just wen I needed the inspiration. Thank you for sharing

Faith Reaper from southern USA on September 18, 2015:

This is brilliant, John! I knew you would jump on this particular challenge. I watched both videos on Genna's hub and your poem truly lends itself to the "Shadows of Grey" theme perfectly and then some. I love your "One of the Pack" as he truly was in the end!

Sharing everywhere


Liwayway Memije-Cruz from Bulacan, Philippines on September 18, 2015:

Once again you gave us vivid pictures of your creative expressions. Thank you Sir John...

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2015:

Thanks Bill, I enjoyed this one.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2015:

Genna, I applaud you for this challenge. I really needed the inspiration to write another poetry hub and this provided that. So glad you like my response. There have been some great ones so far, and hope to read many more because it's a excellent subject to write about. I don't blame you for setting an 80 word limit. I mistakenly thought it would be easy to keep under.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2015:

Greetings Manatita. Thanks for reading and commenting. Genna's inspiration resulted in a wonderful subject for this challenge. I hope you consider a response. You'll have to check her hub to watch "The Grey" video.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2015:

Audrey, thank you for reading and for the kind comment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2015:

Thank you R.Q. Yes, squeezing it into 80 words was the greatest challenge for me. I already sliced a few words off my original draft and then wasn't entirely happy with it so changed things up a bit but still couldn't come under the 80 limit..oh well, I went close. Hope you and yours have a great weekend also.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2015:

Thank you for reading Swalia. Your comment is much appreciated.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2015:

Ann, this was a very enjoyable challenge for me. I had been looking for inspiration to write a new poem and my muse was failing me .. until I read Genna's hub and saw it was a poetry challenge. Thanks for the kind comment and I look forward to reading your response.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 18, 2015:

This is one challenge I won't even consider doing. Why would I embarrass myself in poetry when there are so many, like you, who advance poetry rather than set it back light years like I would? Wonderful work, John!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on September 18, 2015:


I loved how you used the metaphor of the wolves from The Gray. That last fight...into the fray, and how nature figures so prominently in this. We can almost tell in the video that the wolf he faces isn't real and represents his fight with nature, his mortality, with himself. Bravo, John! Beautiful job. Thank you.

I"m sorry about the word length, but I had to come up with at least 0ne rule to make it a bit more challenging. And you aced this challenge. :-)

manatita44 from london on September 18, 2015:

Well, I have not seen the other video, but your poem is excellent and stands well on its own. However, I also appreciate Genna's inspiration. Love, Bro.

Audrey Howitt from California on September 18, 2015:

Great response to the challenge John!

Romeos Quill from Lincolnshire, England on September 18, 2015:

A handsome reply and a pertinent response to Genna's challenge here John covering the whole journey of this particular vid with great pics as well.

It seems that shaving the write to sneak it under the wire of eighty words has proved a challenge within itself for some yet all of the poems read so far are great.

All the best to you and your family; have an exciting weekend.


Shaloo Walia from India on September 18, 2015:

beautiful lines!

Ann Carr from SW England on September 18, 2015:

Cool response, John. He did sort of become one of the pack, didn't he? I love your poem, it covers everything and gives us the atmosphere of man versus beast and man versus nature.

I'm getting my response ready as a hub too. Hope to get it out tonight.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 18, 2015:

Hi Mike, thank you for being the first to read and comment. Yes, we do have baseball cliques here...the game just isn't quite as popular yet as in USA. I agree it was hard to write anything to compare to Genna's own was excellent. I do appreciate you kind words though, and your own response to the challenge was great too.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on September 18, 2015:

Hello John. You certainly have stepped up to the plate with this challenge. (Do you have baseball cliques in Australia? Probably not.)

Both your works here embrace the shrouding cold of the videos.

Just between you and me, once I published my comment to Genna, I thought the most difficult part of the challenge was to have the work compared to the inimitable talent of Genna.

Those were two cool videos.

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