The deer hunter

Written by: Eiken Laan


On a cold winter’s morning
in the Wicklow mountains
a lone man stalks the land;
his hound shadows him. 

He moves silently, swiftly,
approaching a clearing
where the pine forest gives way 
to heather-covered hills. 

Alert to movement,
he steps carefully into position.
His dog stands stock still, waiting;
its nose quivers
in the icy air.

He slips the rifle from his shoulder
moving to a tree
bare of branches. 
Carefully he pulls the trigger, 
the dog darts forward.

Dragging the carcass of a Sika
he walks through a forest
stripped of bark.
Trunks ooze with infection;
the reason for the cull.

He hears gunfire ahead. 
‘Could be poachers.’
He investigates.
Poachers are the true vermin
in this environment.

They kill for money,
no respect for the species.
Stags beheaded, bodies remain,
inexperienced hunters, 
the wounded animals suffer.

An animal lover,
he lives a solitary life 
at his isolated cottage.
Keeper of the deer
deep within the mountains.