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Whether Like Deer or Like Bird

ISSUE:  Spring 1946


Whether like a deer lightly on talented feet,
scholar of brambles, incredible racer of meadows,
intuitive knower of leaves and the leaves’ shadows,
antlered with boughs to disguise the shallow retreat,—
or more like a bird, methodical tracer of summers,
keeper of small assignations with day and with night,
irrational singer, whose only defense is the fright,
quicker than trigger, always aware of newcomers,—

whether on paths of earth or on paths of air,
afraid of a man or a weapon or simply of death,
life is the prize: with the same irrelevant faith
in a tipping planet, whether like bird or like deer,
trusting the wind or a slippery foothold, we move
with the same, blind, animal, ignorant love.


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