October woods are split with sound,
The hunter’s voice is heard again;
His rifle blast rips through the air
And, endlessly, it echoes there.
The leaves are dark, red-stained with blood,
From where some wounded deer has lain;
I see the trail where he was dragged
Unyielding, till he died of pain.
Red jackets, now they gather round
Red pools of blood, and shout with glee;
A mighty hero, one of them,
And each one wishing it was he.
They say they slaughter out of love --
Lest some unfortunate should die,
Slowly, starving when the earth
Is moribund ‘neath winter’s sky.
Yet never have I seen them come
In winter, to the windswept wood,
To leave within its frozen depths
Love’s offering of warming food.
They say they need the flesh to eat --
Whose stomachs bulge, beyond their belts,
Or need the pennies being saved --
Whose houses bulge with purchased wealth.
At Donner’s Pass, they ate their own.
The head of him, whom they have slain
Hangs high upon the trophy wall;
The children gather there to play
Beneath its antlers, every day.
And guests are greeted there to see
That mounted symbol of their worth;
Of man’s superiority;
His dark dominion of the earth.
At Dachau, trophies did abound.
Head-hunters would offend them now,
But let the law allow and they
Would hang, for trophies, on their wall
The human heads they shrunk today.
In France, the guillotine grew dull.