The Cougar And The Deer

When I was just a little boy
we picnicked under alpine skies,
one time a mule deer strolled out
and fed in the meadow nearby.
Tall, curving antlers rising up
from a regal, tan-grey head
"The finest buck I've ever seen, "
were the words my father said.

Then I noticed something moving,
a tawny shape slinked through trees,
suddenly my father leapt on up
and put himself in front of me.
But it wasn't me in danger,
though the cougar inspired fear,
that stealthy cat had yellow eyes
fixed upon the stately deer.

"Get on out of here! "Dad shouted,
and the deer froze in alarm,
out bounded the great cougar,
In one leap moving so far.
Then the buck, he startled,
In a stott he flew away,
for a few frantic moments
the cougar, he gave chase!

But cougars are cast as sprinters,
not built for marathons,
in seconds the cat gave up
and the buck kept running on.
That's what I remembered
as a boy of only four,
though when I did grow older
I remembered something more...

I could recall the flashing teeth
plunging into the deer's neck,
I could recall my mother screaming,
my dad shouting, "Get back! "
I remember seeing the cougar
stare back and snarl at us,
and I remember leaving quickly,
my dad picking me up.

I suppose that my young mind
had to block out what I'd seen,
far too young to deal with it
I started misremembering.
A strong defense mechanism
built up by the conscious mind,
but the subconscious saw it all,
and waited patiently for its time.

It reappeared at twelve years old,
the truth my youth blocked out.
It had an effect, a serious one,
it filled my head with doubts.
How could such violence coexist
with a world of such beauty?
And if that proud deer went down,
what awaited a budding teen?

Pondering such for long hours
did not make me popular,
yet the more I blocked it,
the more uncertainty stirred.
I kept asking those deep questions
about power, evil, and will,
unaware that they'd stymied
minds of far better skill.

To this day I have no answers,
though asking was good for me,
turned pondering into a job
writing pop philosophy.
All of it traced to that day,
my first brush with mortal fear,
when I learned Earth is the type of place
where the cougar eats the deer.

Thursday, November 1, 2018
Topic(s) of this poem: growth,narrative,nature,rhyme,story,youth