In autumn, through the trees and brush, a stag
pursues a doe, following close behind
as, seemingly indifferent, she attends
to her mysterious destinies. No twig
breaks as they glide past shallow ponds and down
along the well-worn trail that countless deer
have grooved into the mossy forest floor.
He breathes her scent that beckons and leads on.
Released from a concealed hunter’s bow,
an arrow passes cleanly through the prize,
which does not falter, flinch or hesitate
but shadows still the meek alluring doe.
The hunter, searching, finds the body whose
desire the shaft had rushed to consummate.
Jan Schreiber was Poet Laureate of Brookline, Massachusetts from 2015 to 2017. His books include Digressions (1970), Wily Apparitions (1992), Bell Buoys (1998), Peccadilloes (2014), and Bay Leaves, as well as two books of translations: A Stroke upon the Sea and Sketch of a Serpent. His criticism is collected in his book Sparring with the Sun (2013). He teaches in the BOLLI program at Brandeis University and runs the annual Symposium on Poetry Criticism at Western Colorado University. His collection of Paul Valéry’s poems in translation will be published later this year by Cambridge Scholars.
Latest posts by Jan Schreiber (see all)