The Hunter

A hunter shot a flock of geese

 that flew within his reach.

Two were stopped in their rapid flight

and fell on the sandy beach.

The male bird lay at water's edge

and just before he died,

He faintly called to his wounded mate

as she dragged herself to his side.

She bent her head and crooned to him

in a way distressed and mild,

Caressing her one and only mate

as a mother would a child.

Then covering him with her broken wing

and gasping with failing breath,

She laid her head against his breast,

a feeble honk...then death.

This story is true

though crudely told,

I was the man in this case.

I stood knee deep in snow and cold

the hot tears burned my face.

I buried the birds in the sand where they lay,

Wrapped in my hunting coat,

And I threw my gun and belt in the bay

when I crossed in the open boat.

Hunters will call me a right poor sport

and scoff at the thing I did.

But that day something broke my heart,

And shoot again? God forbid.


By Lemuel J. Ward


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