Three hares, three ears, How can that be?
Look at the picture you will see.
And yet I know that they have two,
So look again … and so they do.
Chasing each other in a circle,
A never ending race eternal.
This ancient image can be seen
In many places you’ll have been.
In Devon churches they are found,
You only have to look around.
Germany too has these three hares,
You may come across them unawares.
All over Europe and in France
You’ll see them do their threesome dance.
They’re found in China and Japan,
And even in Turkmenistan.
In synagogues and Buddhist caves,
New Age revels and Gothic raves.
In Devon where the tin miner inhabits
They oft are called the Tinner’s Rabbits.
From east to west and west to east,
Along the Silk Road as trade increased.
They travelled wide in many guises,
Large and small, in varied sizes.
Yet no one seems precisely sure;
Why they are there is still obscure.
What does it mean to have three hares
Cavorting with six ears in pairs?
Yet only three that we can see,
It seems an oddity to me.
They can be seen as an illusion,
Which often leads to much confusion.
Or is it just they are a puzzle,
Certain to test your thinking muscle?
Some say they have a great affinity
With the Christian symbol of the Trinity.
Or they the three realms do unite
Earth, Sea and Sky together aright.
Others say they pledge fertility,
And that does have some credibility.
Certainly they are mysterious rarities,
Perhaps these hares were ancient deities.
I don’t suppose we’ll ever know,
It’s a mystery of long ago.
A puzzle with no attribution,
No context and no resolution.
But most of us will think, “Who cares?
Let’s not end up splitting hares!”