Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Farewell To Arms

The Deer Hunter

It's bow season here in the northern reaches of Penn's Woods.
Hunters don ritual vestments, decked out in camo and day-glo orange
for the pilgrimage through field and stream,
to practice that Ol' Time Relijun of the hunt
as they seek Papa Hemingway immortality
along deer-worn paths.

Late day, weighted light caped across shoulders,
unarmed and accompanied by my African Lion Hound,
the chewing-potato-chips-crunch of leaves trumpets our arrival
into the cathedral of trees behind a humble ranch house.

Man's best friend rolls endlessly in the fresh of found scat,
so stops the progress of a daily, routinized walk in the woods.

Turning to admire luminescent dust floating on golden shafts
knifing between oaks, maples and white pines,
their long shadows wrestled to the forest floor,
my breath abates abruptly, leaving it immoveable
somewhere between tongue-throat-lung.

There, not fifteen feet from my own,
a tall, broad, eight-point buck.

The eluvium beneath me
so much richer than just a second ago,
as eyes lock, knowingly / unknowingly.

All sound surrounding swallowed whole by the moment.
So sacred, even the wind waits just beyond the leaves.

"The Hunted",
trapped by timber and the dumbstruck of my stare,
calculates the time between the failure of instinct
and the snap of a bow, swoosh of an arrow.

With "The Hunter" bowless,
the math's theorem fails to arrive,
leaving involuntary reflex to fill the void.

Quantum leaps and endless bounds
through branch debris and waist high weeds
as breathing locates breath in the condensation of an exhale
mixing with the mote of lit mist illuminating
the ghost of Ernest atop the wooded ridge,
waving a worn copy of A Farewell to Arms.

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