By what right do I take your life today?
Your flesh and blood are not unlike my own.
The same Hand made us both, and gave to you
More grace of form and motion than to me.
It is by reason of that grace you live
Not only in the forests of this world,
But also in the hearts and minds of men—
In history, in legend, and in song.
Your name was often on King David’s lips—
But then again, he sang of hunters too.
And many generations earlier,
God said to Noah that all moving things
Were food for man—and after David’s time,
He spoke to Peter, saying, “****, and eat!”
By what right does the wolf feed on your kind?
By what right does the cat devour the bird?
To live is to be hungry, and if you
Had fangs and claws, you would not feed on grass.
If honor is a thing that you can know,
I hope that you will see some honor in
The great pains I must take to bring you down.
There is no wrath or greed in what I do.
We must all die someday, and I will strive
To make this death the best one you could have—
And you, as all your ancestors have done,
Will live on in the hearts and minds of men.
Your life will nourish mine, and I will try,
As I have always done, to live a life
Deserving of what God has given me.
And now, farewell—I send you to your rest.
Copyright 2019 Benjamin Daniel Lukey.
"To a Deer" was first published on July 11, 2019 by The Society of Classical Poets.