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A Walk in the Bush - a Poem of Life and Death

Updated on October 2, 2021
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John is a contemporary poet who uses the rhyming styles of the classics to discuss current issues.

painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir | Source

Contemplating Life and Death

Every now and then something happens that makes me contemplate my life, and maybe even think about death. It doesn't even have to be anything dramatic. This day described in the following poem. for instance, I was just walking in the bush (which looks a lot like that in the Renoir painting) on my property with my dogs and enjoying nature.

Coming across the carcass of a dead steer, however, made me stop and think. It had obviously been dead for some time and I hadn't even missed it. It made me wonder if I was living alone and passed away, how long would it be before anyone even realised? Especially living on a 40-acre property with no immediate neighbours.

Krishna was once asked what was the most miraculous thing in all creation, and he replied, "That a man should wake each morning and believe deep in his heart that he will live forever, even though he knows that he is doomed.

— Christopher Pike, Phantom

A Walk In The Bush

Today I took my four dogs walking.

They raced ahead as we walked the block.

It took a while to traverse the 40 acre fence line,

Then zig-zag through the centre.

Past the half-full dam,

Through the ironbark trees,

Disturbing a few kangaroos

Resting in the shade,

Sheltering from the midday sun.

The dogs chased a goanna

Up the nearest and tallest tree.


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As we approach the rocky outcrop

The carcass caught my attention.

The dogs raced over to inspect and sniff.

It was only a black and white hide

And two leg bones.

No skull, ribs or spine.

Taken by dingoes,

Or stray domestic dogs

Let go wild.

No smell assailed me,

The carcass picked clean.

I hadn't seen that steer for weeks,

I guess it had been dead as long.

It made me wonder,

If I died while living alone,

How long would it take,

For anyone to miss me?


Source

© 2014 John Hansen

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