Friday, October 15, 2010
A seasonal, and topical, poem
It’s autumn. The nuts patter down.
Beechnuts, acorns, black walnuts –
tree orphans thrown to the ground
in their hard garments.
Don’t go in there,
into the faded orange wood –
it’s filled with angry old men
sneaking around in camouflage gear
pretending no one can see them.
Some of them aren’t even old,
they just have arthritic foreheads,
or else they’re drunk,
but something’s got to suffer
for their grudges, their obscure sorrows:
the more blown-up flesh, the better.
They’ll shoot at any sign of movement –
your dog, your cat, you.
They’ll say you were a fox or skunk,
or duck, or pheasant. Maybe a deer.
They aren’t hunters, these men.
They have none of the patience of hunters,
none of the remorse.
They’re certain they own everything.
A hunter knows he borrows.
I remember the long hours
crouching in the high marsh grasses –
the grey sky empty, the water silent,
the hushed colours of distant trees –
waiting for the rush of wings,
half-hoping nothing would happen.
-- Margaret Atwood (1939-)