Liilia Talts Morrison
The Knife of Life
I had a knife in childhood
A villager had made
It's handle gleamed with birch wood
The sheath a darker shade.
When traveling through thick woods
I took this knife along
And when I found a willow
I whittled, whistling songs.
My father oft went stalking
For deer, the hunter's gift
He didn't mind the grunting
Of lives snuffed out so swift.
One day I saw a creature
Quite green and speckled fine.
I held it with my bare foot
And cut its tail and spine.
Its eyes still looked in wonder
At me, or so I thought.
I ran away. Abandoned
my knife, so cunning wrought.
The village calls me coward
A softie, ne'er do well.
They're right. But did they ever
Meet eyes with heaven and hell?
I'm older now and sadder,
I will not buy a knife.
At evening I still wander
To woods where I took life.
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