Natty Bumpo, from "The Last of the Mohigans," James Fenimore Cooper
I imitate Leatherstocking's long, awkward gait,
Leading, as he does, with his knee, placing each foot
Down flat, firmly—quieting the dry leaves beneath.
He pauses often, becomes still, listening, eyes scanning
The middle distance, the forest canopy; he stops,
In one smooth motion up comes la longue carabine—
The concussion, the buck dropping, the reverberation.
He lowers his rifle, tamps powder, ball and wadding
Before the deer has taken its last breath.
Even then he is still, listening, watching; then,
The long steps, the awkward gait, the deer gutted
With swift, efficient, even elegant, passes of his knife.
We make a simple travois for our load, turn home,
And before home—a rabbit, a squirrel, pelt and fare.
The darkening greenery weighs, fatigue overwhelms me.
I fully understand how dependent, and how safe,
I am in the company of this man in his element.
Poetry by jim
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Written on 2016-12-11 at 20:37
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