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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Media (in any form) (11/11/10)

TITLE: That's What I Read
By Henry Clemmons


I read the newspaper at day's break
A young boy
Big smile
Toothy … some spaces
Stuck a ten point buck
With bow and arrow
From fifty feet
Quite a feat
I thought
Fifty feet
Bow and arrow
A young lad’s nerves
Striking a blow
Through a fleet
Deer’s heart
He tracked him for an hour …
The story read

I thought …
Not reading …
Just thinking … pondering … imagining
The buck was strong
Bled for 60 minutes
Frantic through woods and thicket
Gasping breaths
Finally collapsing
A crash of stunned … exhausted carcass
On coldish grass … next to a cool stream
Between a pine … tall and lean
And a greenish bush
At dusk
Panting …
Tongue straining … to reach
The cool brook … stained in sunset red
Lapping a final taste
Snorting his last
An arrow in heart, broken
Dead …

I wasn’t reading … just wondering

The boy is going to have the deer’s head mounted
According to the paper
Hang it at his home
Probably above the fireplace
Dancing shadows
Flames reaching
Illuminating other trophies of dead triumphs on the wall
The buck … however
Quite an accomplishment
For a pre-teen
A ten point buck … at that
Struck dead
With bow and arrow
From fifty feet
A real prize
A true tale to tell for ages
One that would change
A little here
And a year later … there
The boy’s dad bragged
He was very proud of his son
I would have been too …
That’s what the paper said
That’s what I read

I cut the picture of the boy and the buck out of the Daily Gazette
I wanted to place it in my Bible
But …
I didn’t know where
I just knew it was significant … in some way …
It must have been exciting
I was thinking … again
For the teen
Like David or Jonathan
I’m sure they hunted
Were skilled
And celebrated
A kill … and feasted
Until they parted …
But … I felt a kindred sadness
For the deer
Bountifully alive … fellowshipping with creation … one minute
Then … suddenly
Struck with fear(ish) pain … the next
Followed by … silence
All in 60 minutes …
I’m sure they …
The teen’s family … said grace
Ate the venison … back strap first … of course … the most tender
And froze or gave away the rest …
The buck
Didn’t die in complete vain
He fed them …
The hunters
I didn’t read that
Just pondered

In my half-buttoned safari jacket pocket
I placed my worn, smooth black leather Bible
We were the first at the veterinarian’s office
My Lassie and I
It was a cool autumn morning … shadows were shrinking though
She was ill … that one kind of ill … a final ill
An aged friend
Panting in my arms
She didn’t weigh as much …
Anymore …
We should have been on the river
But …
I handed my friend to my friend
The doc
He tried to smile … failed … but tried
I followed them to the back
And opened my Bible
Page 857
I had it marked with the picture of the boy and that deer
From the Gazette
I had read when the shadows were longer
I thought about the buck
He did not fear the arrow …
But that he would not make it back … to the brook
One last … time
That’s what I pondered …
And when Lassie lay on the cool
Of the table
In the back
She licked my hand
I whispered in her ear … loud enough for both of us to hear
“… You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor the arrow that flies by day … “
That’s what I read …

Scripture reference: Psalm 91:5 (NKJV)

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This article has been read 801 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marita Vandertogt11/18/10
Wow - this one left me with tears sticking in my throat ... very emotional piece... in fact, it's left a feeling in me that I can't define. Very powerful.
Virgil Youngblood 11/18/10
Superb writing. This will tug at the emotions of every reader with varying impact, depending upon their view of hunting and man's best friend.
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/20/10
What marvelous pictures you painted here--and you truly played a harp at my heartstrings!
Connie Dixon11/20/10
This is truly amazing. I love how you wove the two stories together. Love this.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/20/10
I'm so amazed by the talent shown in this piece. It brought out so many different feelings in me.
Rachel Phelps11/20/10
Oh my... I have no words. Incredible.
Lillian Rhoades 11/21/10
I'm speechless! You've taken the English language and wrapped it around your fingers, sculpted it to just the right form. Indescribably artful!!
Caitlyn Meissner11/22/10
Because of the lack of punctuation, I had a little trouble putting this together. However, you created some very clear pictures. I especially felt for the speaker in the last scene, since my own dog died on a vet's table. I think you did a great job.
Carol Penhorwood 11/24/10
A poignant story, creative format that will touch the hearts of many. Well done indeed!
Lollie Hofer11/24/10
Wowzers. I hope you intend to publish your poems one of these days. FaithWriters isn't big enough to contain what you have to offer. This was beautifully well-written; it took my breath away.

P.S. I'll be the first in line to purchase your book, for sure.
Amanda Brogan11/24/10
So sweet! Bittersweet that is. And touching. I loved how the story and the Scripture that it marked helped to comfort the character in the end.

Your poetic style is unique and engaging.
Edmond Ng 11/24/10
There is no glory in man's victory over the lives of God's created creatures. You've captured very well in your poem a subtle introspection of the underlining truths in drawing the attention of your readers to understand both sides of the coin from the perspective of the media and its audiences. Excellent work!
Mona Purvis11/25/10
I've come to accept that the reader doesn't read your work; he experiences it. I did with this magnificent work.
The most powerful images in what you didn't say.
Caitlyn Meissner11/25/10
Great job, and Congratulations on your EC!
Nancy Bucca11/25/10
Congratulations on your EC!
Beth LaBuff 11/25/10
This was brilliantly written. Excellent story and message! Congratulations on your Editor's Choice award!
Chely Roach11/29/10
Holy moly. What an amazing piece. Brilliant and touching. Loved it...congratulations.