The last echo bounces back at me and then the quiet fills
My ears with sounds of nothingness; of solitude; of stills.
But the smell of powder drifts about and I glance down at my gun
Wisps of smoke come drifting up and I know the hunt is done.
I wait there several minutes, scanning vacant skies
Hidden among the underbrush, moving nothing but my eyes.
There seems to be no other life; nothing ventures out
It appears to me my shot was true; the deer lies dead, no doubt.
I ease into the clearing where soundlessly I tread
The carcass now without a soul; life forces now have fled.
I see where he was standing when the lethal leaden ball
Struck him in that vital place, soon to make him fall.
A wisp of hair, a spot of blood, a frantic cloven track
Bounds a few short paces, before his sight goes black.
An uncoordinated stumble, quite unlike former grace,
Leaves the buck distorted in his final resting place.
I kneel there beside him and thank my stroke of luck.
Mixed emotions powerful; each time I feel struck
By warm thoughts pulling one way and sadness pulling back
Of bright colors on the one hand, with the other hand all black.
My deep respect for other life, my remorse for having killed.
The accomplishment of survival now; but sadness for having stilled
This life to which I've brought an end, this animal of grace,
Is now reduced to something less, to another time and place.
I think it all important for the hunter to understand,
The significance of mortality; causing death with one's own hand.
And not cause undue suffering; clear of waste and of neglect,
And treat the land and all of life with the deepest of respect.