Poetry of John Shaw

      A Deer and the Hunter Meet In the Woods


      The hunter meets the deer
      and inside of each a fear
      for they know of each
      though they have never met
      but the fear will wait
      as the two concentrate
      and study each others eyes
      As the branches still quiver from their last step.

      Both know what to do
      and how it plays out
      and what it comes about to
      Either the deer will away
      or the hunter will have his prey
      They just know not to whom it will happen today

      Still, they hesitate,
      for one moment more
      exploring the impossibilities
      of a new ending
      one that never happened before.

      One blinks and the hunt is on
      They both slow dance with each other through the woods
      Carefully doing the things they should
      Still not knowing the outcome
      only knowing that it will come
      and that one will not win when it does

      But as they dance and wander they wonder so
      Should the hunter kill beauty or let it go
      not knowing how the doe will fare or caring either way because it will be gone
      but left intact for at least another day

      Likewise, should the deer trust the hunter not to strike her down
      ignoring so much of what she knows is real
      bowing to him as a man, trusting what she feels
      that hasnít been felt before and may never again
      if she runs away and this encounter end today

      They look eye to eye,
      they are in a trance as they slow dance through the woods in measured steps
      they notice nuance
      how each breaths and the beautiful and rugged details of each
      A single wildflower comes between the two
      the two act, react, and it is done.
      The hunter lowers his gun
      He has made his choice
      Deciding not to be the one to strike down like hunters do
      and in doing discovers anew the beauty before him

      The two are left with the moment
      and the moment stays
      they stare as each second stretches into days
      for they can hear each heartbeat now,
      Each puff of wind blown against skin
      As they stop and study and take the moment in

      Yet the hunter knows the deer has not made her choice
      Just as she was unaware then of the danger she was just in
      She is unaware still of the goings on of men and still may run
      Spooked by the wind or even the jagged edges of blades of grass
      and so the hunter steps lightly
      coming not between her and her escape path

      He tries to move only to make the moment last
      For what else does he have to look forward to or to look past
      Cast as a spectator, for the deer is now the star of this show
      and so he saviors each second least the seconds go
      and with them the deer, or so he fears

      But as he gazes his terms must come to bear
      he is the hunter and she the deer and the gun and shot so clear
      Suddenly the hunter misfires a round
      The deer is pieced
      not by the bullet but by the sound
      and off she is hoping never to be found again
      heart raging and pounding like never before

      But he is steadfast and pursues once more
      Over hills and through a meadow
      Half running to wound the other half to heal
      head confused by what he feels
      finally they meet again hearts pounding

      Then as if a magical knowledge has come over the her
      The deer eases, fears forgot
      acknowledgment exchanged through lack there of the hunter
      These are her terms
      From above sun shines and love finds each between spaces
      thoughts go places in silence occasionally broken
      by moans from trees softly blown from winds above

      The deer and hunter find their peace
      and as moment lead to moment more neither knows what lay in store
      and didnít care as much as to enjoy each
      one greater than the one before

      So did time pass under truce
      amid spruce and pine
      and what they came to find between them
      and like all things come together they
      found the greater of two parts separate made whole
      and kept the result sacred

      This pattern repeated more and more
      Eventually they parted
      and in so doing started another life wiser than the one before
      for what lay in store they were now more ready
      as they walked on steady through wood and over roots laid under foot as they pass
      stronger, smarter they walk the new path
      Logic and reason have taken hold again.
      Still as they go
      They wonder if this may be the deepest emotions they will ever know.

      Written in parts, every few weeks/months as our relationship changed.

    Email: john@jfds.net

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