Looking Back

This blog features poems by a native New Englander and octogenarian, as he looks back on the stomping grounds of his youth -- Chaffee's Woods, Kent Heights, Beach Pond, Escoheag, Wood River -- and his army days in Europe towards the end of WWII.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Deer Yard

I looked out at the depth of snow
At least three feet and maybe more
Brought on by many storms that moved
Across the land now left so white.
But now this day was bright and clear
And brought me thoughts of getting out
I wondered how I’d move around
And thought “snowshoes,” that is the way.

And so I took the snowshoes down
Right off the wall where they’d been kept
As ornaments for all to see
But useful purpose, again to fill
I tied them on – the bear paw type –
And stood to see just how they felt
I tested them upon the snow
And found I moved around quite well.

And so I left the warmth and cheer
Of cabin, and went out into
A wilderness of cold and snow
That was so deep, and white and cold
I headed up a trail I’d made
With my Kubota and a skid
In bringing cords of wood to burn
On cold and winter days as this.

I moved along this whitened trail
And often stopped and watched the woods
To see if there was ought but me
That ventured out among the pines
I saw no signs of tracks or flight
Of nothing showing, none at all
I began to feel I’d never see
A bird or beast this wintery day.

And so as I continued on
I was surprised to see a trough
And looking closer at this trail
I noticed way down in the depth
The hoof prints of a deer – no, two.
These deer, for hungry they must be
Had plowed their way thru deepest snow
And stripped red cedar of its bark.

Then turned once more and ploughed their way
Until they met the trail again
The trail on which I stood and gazed
At hoof prints that were large and small
And knew that I was looking at
The split hooves of a doe and fawn
The doe ahead and breaking snow
That must have come up to her chest.

I now proceeded cautiously
With hopes of catching sight of them
I checked the wind and found it too
Was in my favor, thus I knew
They would not catch my human scent.
As I continued toward a stand
Of pines I knew that lay not far
And where these deer could hunker down.

Now cautiously I moved ahead
And always searched before I moved
Then carefully would take a step
Listening, listening for any sound
Especially that of crunching snow
That would tell a deer’s ahead.
And so I closely watched the trail
That led me toward the copse of pine.

I was surprised when I got near
That group of pine that grew so close.
Some other trails came into view
And like the one upon my trail
Were made by deer, more than a few
I saw them now, their trails well packed
But then they sniffed and caught my scent
And scattered, thru the snow they went.

I watched for never had I seen
As many deer as I saw now
They leaped and bounded thru the snow
As frightened as most deer can be
I’d startled them, and off they went
But knew they would return that night
I’d seen the yard where these deer stay
Where snow is deep and cold holds sway.

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