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REMORSE
by Lemuel T. Ward
Submitted 26 October 1998

Photos by Sue Holloway - Creatured Connection
Painting by Mary T. Hoffman - God's Creation in Art

A hunter shot at a flock of geese
That flew within his reach.
Two were stopped in their rapid flight
And fell on the sandy beach.

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The male bird lay at the water's edge
And just before he died,
He faintly called to his wounded mate
And she dragged herself to his side.

She bent her head and crooned to him
In a way distressed and wild,
Caressing her one and only mate
As a mother would a child.

Then covering him with her broken wing
And gasping with failing breath
She laid her head against his breast
A feeble honk -- then death.

This story is true though crudely told.
I was the man in this case.
I stood knee-deep in snow and cold
And the hot tears burned my fang

I buried the birds in the sand where they lay
Wrapped in my hunting coat,
And I threw my gun and belt in the bay
When I crossed in the open boat

Hunters will call me a right poor sport
And scoff at the thing I did.
But that day something broke in my heart
And shoot again?  God forbid!

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