A thousand years ago or so
Saxon hunters roamed this land,
Caught the deer, wore their skin,
With the tools of their own hand.
Ten thousand years before,
The deer wandered more free,
Making no claim to the grass it ate,
Or the bark it gnawed from the tree.
And today I stared at those same brown eyes
That I startled in this glade,
And marvel that I might own this land,
But it is the deer that will remain.
In part, I write this because deer are generally interesting creatures, and I do not believe that I have ever written about them, despite living in an area where deer have been hunted since the Middle Ages. The conclusion derives from a preoccupation of many Enlightenment philosophers I have studied – it must be the case that at some point, somebody just decided ‘This land is MINE, and none can take it from me’, and all subsequent land claims can be traced back to that point. And yet, what makes that decision just? Certainly the deer do not seem to mind.
The Hapless Neo-Romantic.