The National Catholic Review
Even asleep, I hear them stirring in the woods,
Restless like me, and hungry,
Their large ears alert to danger sounds, human
Or merely wind, though since there never is enough
To eat, they’ll trample down my garden
And devour what’s mine. True, they’re just deer,

But when I watch their eyes I don’t see deer
As creatures with no rights, enough
Of them already in the woods,
I see what they would feel if human
Understanding told them I was hungry,
That the purpose of a garden

Is to fence those out who failed to make a garden,
Though their children, just like deer,
Through no fault of their own, also are hungry.
But I’m not to blame, and I reject that human
Sentiment, because there’s not enough
Where many people live, the same as in the woods,

As fear too is the same within the woods
Or out, and since I can’t help everyone, it’s human
That I first take care my children not go hungry
And can sleep at ease within my garden,
Though they seem wary just like deer
When I gaze in their eyes. It’s good enough

If I can keep them safe. It’s good enough
If I can keep my garden
Flourishing while more and more gaunt deer
Keep coming from the woods,
And though their limpid eyes look human,
Don’t blame me because they’re hungry.

Don’t blame me that children too go hungry
Since there’s only so much room within a garden
Whether filled with people or with deer;
Some must make do within the woods
Where there can never be enough,
Though knowing that can cause more human

Misery. Hungry at heart there be enough
In all those teeming gardens and lush woods
Are we most human when we see ourselves as deer?

Robert Pack

Recently in Poem