The Hart of London
Late this dappled day, I spot a stray
young yearling browsing for millet
beneath our bird feeder. How? We
live on a closed-off street between
highways. She arrives as straggler
separated from family and settles
down under the tangle of rosebush
for an hour. Then, startled by next
door’s lawn mower, she lopes across
our driveway to nest below the cedars,
appearing/reappearing tawny through
yellow leaves and disappearing when
my attention shifts inside the house.
Her presence endures. Not for me the names
antlered vermin, garden pest, tree girdler.
But a reminder of totem, of clan. How
alone we are in the world. How we too
know sanctuary, when to hide and where.
This poem was first published in the gorgeous WINDSOR REVIEW: Special Alice Munro Issue.
Thanks to Tim Struthers for suggesting the title It refers to an experimental 1970 film by London artist Jack Chambers.