I don’t write a lot of poetry, but I was inspired to write these words in response to the many conversations I’ve had with non-hunters. It’s difficult to convey the real challenge of bowhunting to city-folk. For bowhunters, failure happens far more than success. Most days are spent hiking up steep mountains and seeing very few deer, if any.
Do You Know What It’s Like?
Do you know what it’s like
To wake before it’s light,
And wander alone away from camp
Through tangled timber by headlamp;
To put aside all fear of death,
That today you’ll breathe your final breath?
Eyes strain through timber, search for deer
That move like ghosts you hardly hear.
Should I travel left or right,
Go up or down or just sit tight?
The day drags on eternally;
These clever beasts you hardly see.
I wait in ambush for my prey,
It’s too hot to move now anyway,
Lie in shadow, wait out the day,
And ponder on my natural fate.
By noon exhaustion has consumed
My energy and daydreams doomed.
Slip into slumber amidst the trees,
My faithful bow rests on my knees.
The hours pass and daymares come;
A crazy flight to kingdom come.
Real or dream it’s hard to tell;
Swirling thoughts mix with surreal.
A cool breeze rakes leaves, makes me shake,
Cold shivers jerk me awake.
Evening’s falling with long shadows,
THERE’S SOME DEER, but only does.
It’s darker now and nighttime looms,
Then rustling leaves and stomping hooves.
A flash of gray between the trees,
I nock and arrow and then freeze.
Feeding unsuspecting prey,
Last opportunity today,
I draw my bow without a sound,
He stops and sniffs then stomps the ground.
He’s got my scent, I might be busted,
No shot, the wind can’t be trusted.
A flash of antler as he goes,
Before my arrow leaves the bow.
Too dark now, all out of luck,
Beaten again by a monster buck.
Do you know what it’s like;
This mighty trudge, this endless hike?