The Deer

I met him at the river, each claiming an opposite bank

two who come for promise and two who leave in thanks

I for the quiet and solitude and he for a morning drink

One to take inherited ground, and one to sit and think

We have met before, though always keeping to our own

He belonging to the place, because it was his home

He did not seem to ever mind, my coming or my stays

but I was always mindful, not to interupt his ways

I had mastered a stillness, that he expected from me

It is warranted of travelers, when meeting royalty

I sat on my appointed bank and he in turn, took rest

Each upon the rivers grass, an antlered king and guest

I stared upon his regal pose, across the wet divide

he turned in royal splendor, goodbye from the other side

We shared some time at a river, together leaving thanks

all because of a river allowed us opposites banks.

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Comments 27 comments

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Now this is a way to start my day, Alan. I haven't had the opportunity to watch deer from across water, but I've spent many a watchful, appreciative evening, even nights in the darkness of remoteness, gazing out the cabin window, when all I could detect was their shadows if it was moonlit and their inhibited movement around the compound, eating our treats for them and always feeling safe in that area. Such magnificent creatures!

I can visualize your scene described in this gracious poem. I may have to use "A River Runs Through It' for a reference scenario, but not with Tom Skerritt and Brad Pitt; - oh no! It's populated with profound you and the regal deer.

Thank you for sharing this. It goes deep into my consciousness.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Oops. I meant - "uninhibited" - they browse around freely and without fear there.

I had one terrible experience, though. George was visiting a neighboring ranch and I was alone, which was unusual. It was a blustery November day - at least 15 years ago. A doe had tried to jump into the compound across a jagged "picket" fence made of sotol stalks. There is a picture of the fence about 1/3rd of the way down this page on my site: . There's also one of a buck in the compound. Of course - they are usually out in the canyons and pastures. The cabin windows are pictured inside and out further down, too. Here is what a living sotol with a stalk looks like: . The stalk produces its bloom & seeds. The stalk itself is very light-weight but so strong, it's almost impossible to bend or break.

The poor thing's leg got caught in the pickets and was torn so it was barely hanging by a tendon. I was devastated and tried to help her. I managed to get a makeshift splint rigged up and on it, and tried to keep her calm, but something would startle her and she would jump up and try to run around inside the compound, which has fences on all sides. It's about 3 acres, so she had space to run but no way to get out. It was so cold and a piercing wind. I tried to keep her still but it was futile. When George returned, of course we realized we had to call the Game Warden. It would be illegal for us to put her out of her misery and there was nothing more to be done for her. It is among my saddest and most poignant memories down there.

crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

This is great and well edited article. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

arb what a beautiful poem!

BenWritings profile image

BenWritings 5 years ago from Save me from, Tennessee

this is awesome, arb.

The flow and rhyme was flawless, and the story was touching. A great example of man coexisting with nature, which doesn't happen nearly often enough.

It was short and simple, and one of my favorites by you.

Great work

Maggie-May profile image

Maggie-May 5 years ago from the Island of Cape Breton to the Eastern Shores near Halifax, NS

Your words are perfect, and I could easily visualize it with your awesome use of imagery. It makes me want to experience it... Must be such an awe moment between the two, Bravo arb, this is indeed a wonderful piece..

Thanks for sharing,


arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

good morning Nellienna, I am suffering the onslaught of a head cold which has come upon me light August lightning and I am the biggest baby in the world. I can cut my finger off and give it little mind, but a cold, you would think I was putting myself in a casket.

First, thank you so much for enjoying my moment with the deer. Actually, my first deer hunt was in Texas. It was my last. Did an awful lot of duck hunting there though. This particular deer lay and watched me, for perhaps, an hour and a half. It was an extrordinary day.

I have, unfortunately, put a number of animals down.I don't remember sotol from my time in Texas, but, considering my age at the time, I don't think I noticed anything, but what 18 year old boys notice. "Profound me and regal deer" What a lovely thing to say. Be well today, dear friend.

arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

Thanks crystolite, Always enjoy your comments.

arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

Hello Susan! Thank you so much for reading and for such a lovely comment. My poem failed to do the moment justice, but, he is now remembered.

arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

Hi Ben! Thanks my friend. I so appreciate your perusing my work. You are my resident spell checker. Ha Ha. Thanks for the wonderful comment. Be well, I will be over in a while, I know you have some new stuff and I need to know if the world survives.

BenWritings profile image

BenWritings 5 years ago from Save me from, Tennessee

haha, indeed.

I have 2-3 new ones, including the conclusion to that disastrous story

arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

Hello MM, And I envy your constant sea! The wild rivers and the cascades do contain a beauty of their own and as the snow melts I am able to more enjoy it. Thanks Maggie for reading and for such a lovely comment.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Since there are deer all over the state, perhaps your hunt experience was where sotol are rare except as cultivated plants. They're native & plentiful in the southwest part of the state, though even there, they have preferred habitat areas. You may not have been where they were & if you were noticing the - ahem - fauna noticed by 18 year old boys, it's all the less likely you were in a sparsely populated area, as preferred by desert flora. ;-> And if there was duck hunting, that almost cinches that it wasn't in the semi-arid parts of Texas!

It's been a fine day, thank you. :-) My empahy with the cold. No fun at all! If you had some of a plentiful herb on the ranch, - hoarhound, - you could cure it in no time!

nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia

this was beautiful and very soothing to read, thank you for sharing it

arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

thank you nighthag, it was soothing to watch!

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Awesomely beautiful. You paint a pretty picture!

Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

This reminded me so much of an experience we use to have with deer that would often take a drink from the opposite side of a narrow section of river...almost a slip of a stream at that point. We thought we (two) would scatter them out of fear, but we must have been putting out some very good vibes. They would look up at us and calmly resume drinking from the cool stream.

Beautifully written.

arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

Hey Micky! Thank you my friend, always enjoy you coming by. Some pictures last forever.

arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

Good morning Genna! Somehow, I think they know instinctively, if they should bolt or stay. Perhaps our eyes convey a lanquage which reveals intent. Thank you for coming by and for the lovely comment. Be well.

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Your poem beautifully conveys an encounter with nature. I loved the flow of the poem. Sometimes when I read rhyming poetry I feel that the rhyme is clumsy and forced. This is definitely not true for your poem! The rhyme is so natural and is an important part of the poem. The overall effect was lovely.

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 5 years ago from Los Angeles

Arb, I enjoyed this poetic recount of your observation of this magnificent deer and your respectful regard for one another. It brought to mind an encounter I had with a bighorn sheep from across a ravine when I was about 11 years old. I will never forget the awe I felt when making eye contact with it. Thanks so much!

arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

Alicia! Thank you so much for the kind words. I am delighted that you found enjoyment in my subtle tribute to encounter with a deer. I look forward to aquainting myself with your work.

arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

Hi cat! I have been fortunate enough to have many such encounters and I expect to write of them. They have all had a profound impact on my reference for life. Still need to get over to your hubs. I have been busy with another contentious hub which I just now finished. Thanks so much for reading and your kind comment. I feel a kindred spirit in your love for nature. Be well.

alastar packer 5 years ago

arb now your the one bringing back memories: what a beautiful juxtaposition you have created here. Thanks my friend.

arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon Author

Good morning alastar! Thank you for your kind comment. The next time I encounter my friend, I will extend to him your thanks. Be well friend.

Edlira profile image

Edlira 5 years ago

What a beautiful poem, arb! And the picture is amazing too. Can I please use it as a reference pic for a painting?

Cheers, Edlira

arb 5 years ago

Hi Edlira. Thank you for the kind comment and yes you can. Be well

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