Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday's Poetry: "To Kill a Deer"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Yesterday I commented on some of the deer that have been roaming about Rock's Roost in the early morning hours.  They are beautiful creatures, serene and graceful, whose only crimes are occasional forays into gardens, unauthorized pruning of fruit trees, and jumping in front of vehicles driven by wild-eyed hillbillies as they barrel recklessly along our country lanes.  Deer can become pests, and for that reason this state, and most others, allow humans to kill the regal animals at various times during the year.

Through her poem, "To Kill a Deer," the poet Carol Frost takes readers along on a hunt in which she shares the feeling that comes with shooting a deer.  She also talks of gutting the animal and harvesting some cuts of meat.  Although her motivation for hunting was not expressed in the poem, it is doubtful that Ms. Frost, who at one time studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, needed the carcass to stock her freezer and sustain herself through a hard New England winter.

Still, many people do.

To Kill a Deer
by Carol Frost

Into the changes of autumn brush
the doe walked, and the hide, head, and ears
were the tinsel browns. They made her.
I could not see her. She reappeared, stuffed with apples,
and I shot her. Into the pines she ran,
and I ran after. I might have lost her,
seeing no sign of blood or scuffle,
but felt myself part of the woods,
a woman with a doe’s ears, and heard her
dying, counted her last breaths like a song
of dying, and found her dying.
I shot her again because her lungs rattled like castanets,
then poked her with the gun barrel
because her eyes were dusty and unreal.
I opened her belly and pushed the insides
like rotted fruit into a rabbit hole,
skinned her, broke her leg joints under my knee,
took the meat, smelled the half-digested smell
that was herself. Ah, I closed her eyes.
I left her refolded in some briars
with the last sun on her head
like a benediction, head tilted on its axis
of neck and barren bone; head bent
wordless over a death, though I heard
the night wind blowing through her fur,
heard riot in the emptied head.

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