the news

the brothers

Late afternoon yesterday I looked up from my desk through the big window facing south and two bucks were staring at me. Just at the edge of the woods. They had small antler buds which might mean they’re young ones, brothers maybe, but black-tail bucks lose their antlers every January or so and grow new ones in April so maybe these are mature adults. But then I wonder if they’d be traveling together? They looked at me, they ambled, they both darted back to the the bluff they’d just come up, alert as they watched for something I couldn’t see. People have recently encountered wolves just up the mountain behind us and we hear coyotes fairly often so it could have been either. I was reminded of this poem, not because of the snow (luckily we’re spared that!) but because of all the news carried by their presence. The white muzzle and throat of the one on the right, the tentative step forward, then back. And when I went out to greet them, they bounded into the woods, tails high.

Three Deer One Coyote Running
               in the Snow

First three deer bounding
and then coyote streaks right after
tail      flat out

I stand dumb a while two seconds
blankly black-and-white of trees and snow

Coyote’s back!
good coat, fluffy tail,
sees me:            quickly gone.

Later:
I walk through where they ran

to study how that news all got put down

—Gary Snyder, from No Nature: New and Selected Poems

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~ by theresakishkan on April 15, 2018.

2 Responses to “the news”

  1. A wonderful in-the-moment poem.
    Do you have to protect your garden from the deer?

    • it is a wonderful poem, isn’t it? What I admire about Snyder is that yes, his poetry (in particular) is in-the-moment but that moment contains a depth of scholarship, knowledge of deep poetics, botany, a rich spiritual system, and keen observation. He wears it lightly but it’s there in every syllable.
      We have an 8 foot high fence of black deer mesh around our vegetable garden. It keeps the deer out. Mostly. In late September a bear broke in and just tore around, didn’t find much to interest it, but then the deer found the gap (we were away) and ate some huge red cabbages — 6 of them! — and all the winter kale. Some beans. And even though we repaired the fence, they kept finding ways in, slithering underneath (so that now we have wood anchoring the mesh along the ground where it’s uneven), nosing the gate aside, etc. This year, so far so good.

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