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Lords of the Woods

- by Linn Barnes


There is crashing and breaking slightly off to our left, upwind,

coming with a fierce will toward us through the fog and dark,

antlers hanging up on low hanging branches, as he burrows his scent

deep in the wood, scraping clean the bark to the wet wood, his signature raw, 

clear and powerful, coming to claim his hard won prize, the doe in season

he senses, but cannot yet scent. But, he must pass us first, and he will,

since we never take the large trophy bucks in spite of their great beauty.

The truth for us is simple and self serving: The finest venison is from the younger, 

smaller creatures, male or female. We have always hunted for the wild and perfect

meat which we cherish, leaving the mature antlered bucks to their rightful domain, 

and never taking the alpha breeding males, upon which the life and myth of the herd depends. 

We witness and are cowed by their great beauty, ferocity and elegance as they rule 

their antique kingdom, this perfect and holy forest once made sacred 

for all time in an ancient and now mostly lost world. 

These eternal creatures are the true, rightful and anointed 

Lords of the Woods.