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The old truck grinds to a slow stop
as the eastern sky's stars start to fade.
An old man exits, no hair on top
a scant hundred yards from a small glade.

Back straightens out with a few groans.
He shoulders his rifle, grasps walking stick
starts down woods road which a friend owns.
slowly, quietly that's the trick.

Before too long he's at the blind
built a mere eight feet off the ground
a few years back when he didn't mind
how climbing made his old heart pound.

By now the sky is tending pink
so he flexes stiff knees, grinds his teeth.
Ere long the deer will start to slink.
Soon frozen ground is underneath.

He settles down puts on felt hat
and sits as daylight quickly grows.
His thoughts dodge each time he thinks of That.
He denies but he knows....he knows.

For yesterday the tests came back.
He'll not hunt here again next season
for his life's line has grown slack.
Those white spots whispered out the reason.

His thoughts turn to others gone;
how they'd left him alone to grow old,
how so many times he'd met the dawn.
He recalled their tales so oft retold.

Full daylight now hits his lone post
so time to hunt instead of think.
Of these short times he'd make his most.
A green teals flashes past as in a blink.

Out in the glade some turkeys land
from their roost down there over the stream.
They cluck and fuss in their small band
then leave quietly as a dream.

He's by himself but for a while
then a crow flies overhead.
Its cawing brings a wistful smile
"Not right now I'm not yet dead."

Then a coyote sings its song
from a hillside half mile away.
A near squirrel barks like something's wrong
as morning dew drops fade away.

Silence, then, the world is still
and an old buck steps into the clear.
The man's heart speeds from that old thrill
of seeing such a grand old deer.

He waits for his prize to look away
then raises his rifle to his shoulder.
This deer has likely seen its last day.
By rights it will not become older.

Crosshair settles right where it should.
A finger twitch all it will take.
those tenderloins will sure taste good.
That finger twitch.....he doesn't make.

Instead the rifle's leaned aside.
The hunter smiles and just yells "POW!".
Startled trophy looks side to side
then exits this stage left for now.

The old hunter listens as dense limbs crack,
until the deer is beyond hearing's range.
He grins, then frowns then rubs his back.
His passed mates would think he is strange.

Slowly, carefully he climbs down
until he's firmly on the ground.
He's undecided; smile or frown?
at how next year the Deer will still be 'round........

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Editing stage: 


great difficulty in seeing this as free verse! It rhymes all the way through. You are the second person today, that I have read; labeling their poetry [free verse], when it is in fact rhyming. Is it that if you label it free verse, the pattern/rhythm doesn't matter? Yes, I am always on about syllables and rhythm, but it makes a whole lot of difference if it is jagged and lumpy when you rhyme. The story is a tear jerker, and if you want the proper response, it needs to be in tune. ~ Gee.

Come to Chat on the Darkside
every other Saturday night 8pm to ?
Bring your dark and delicious work
to show.

Sometimes I randomly mislabel a poem just to see if anybody is paying attention lol. So just ignore what the setting is and read it as a western classic. appreciate you taking the time to read this long thing

author comment

I always appreciate a long walk in the woods and a good story. ~ Gee.

Come to Chat on the Darkside
every other Saturday night 8pm to ?
Bring your dark and delicious work
to show.

this is beautiful. I love the twist, an old man about to lose his life, sparing a deer his. it captures the beauty of living another year, and makes me want to go hunting, or go to a concert, or just enjoy whatever my next year of life has for me, and not fret so much about the aches and pains which are inevitable. the rhyme and rhythm were great, and the story telling too.

I am pleased you liked this and appreciate your taking the time to wade through this longish poem

author comment

We happen to be watching a Swedish series called Wallander with exciting plots and great acting. The main character who is about 60 (Kurt Wallender) is constantly out in the wild or in dangerous urban settings always dealing with the inexperience of youthful trainees and his daughter and the challenges he has with slowing down when he must react quickly and wisely in life and death situations. Lot of different types of hunters enter the stories.

You fine poem brought this to mind as long as my own challenges with aging.

Nobody wants to die but neither do they want to admit they are aging lol. Alas there comes a time when they Must

author comment
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