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April 6, 2020: Deer Among Cattle

Another poem for Easter week, by the great poet and my long-ago teacher, James Dickey, whose poetry readings set the room on fire. DEER AMONG CATTLE by James Dickey Here and there in the searing beam Of my hand going through the night meadow They are all grazing With pins of human light in their eyes. A wild one is also eating The human grass, Slender, graceful, domesticated By darkness among the bred- for-slaughter, Having bounded their paralyzed fence And inclined his branched forehead onto Their green frosted table, The only live thing in this flashlight Who can leave whenever he wishes, Turn grass into forest, Foreclose inhuman brightness from his eyes But stands here still, unperturbed, In their wide-open country, The sparks from my hand in his pupils Unmatched anywhere among cattle, Grazing with them the night of the hammer As one of their own who shall rise.

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