The Deer Heard
by Barbara Groce
It was one of those moments,
that seek a permanent place
deep in your memory.
In the golden afternoon
of a summer day, I stood
on our front porch looking
at the cloud of dark gray smoke
rising from a hillside
about two miles from us.
I heard my husband softly say,
In our back yard eighteen deer
stood motionless, and every head
was turned toward the hillside,
although our house obscured the view.
We had not heard a sound.
Our presence on the back porch
did not frighten them away
as it always did before.
In a few minutes they continued
toward the forest, their earth tones
becoming one with woodland hues.
Later we heard that four lives vanished
when their plane fell from the sky
into the hillside of a
hundred shades of green and
boundless yellow flowers
growing wild in the golden
afternoon of a summer day.
Author’s Comment: We felt connected to the community in this tragedy because we saw the smoke directly in front of our house. The deer evidently heard the crash because they stopped, looked in that direction and did not spook on seeing us as they normally did. The pilot, we later learned, had done his best to avoid homes and was trying to reach the grassy meadow.
I am touched by this amazing poem by Barbara Groce ..what “The Dear Heard.”
Thanks for this poem, Barbara. I continue to be in awe of all we don’t know about what animals know.