Requiem For The Hunter

Upon hearing the news, the Seraphim were dispatched to cry the command:

Pray the clouds to block out the sun as it dawns o’er the swamp.
Bid the moon to wane to new.
Dim the stars and still the winds and waves.

Silence the beasts and fowl.

The geese shall not trumpet,
nor the ducks hail.
The feral hog and the buck shall not bellow,
nor the doe stomp her foreleg.
The coyote shall be forbidden from baying,
and the squirrels from chirping.
The woodpecker shall cease his rapping,
and the crow his cawing, and the owl his screeching.

The drivers shall step down from their mounts
and halt their whoop and call.
They shall lower their horns
and stop their horses from neighing,
and their hounds from wailing.

The rowers shall raise their oars.
The hunters shall lay down their arms,
and quiver their arrows,
and halt their pursuit.
No trap shall be set,
nor any line or net be cast.
No cartridge may roar its blast,
nor any muzzle flash.

Take his gun and his calls,
his rod and his reel,
his sling and his creel,
and set them in the nave of the forest cathedral.
And there they shall lie in state, undisturbed
amid the sentries of Tupelo and Cottonwood.
And the beasts and fowl may pass
to pay their silent, humble respects.

And when the last of them has bid him farewell
and all is at rest, the wind may resume,
but only to whisper his name
through the Pine and the Willow,
the Cypress and the Oak,
and to herald the tidings of sorrow on Earth
and the joy in Heaven by calling;
The Hunter is Dead,
Long live the Hunter!

by Tom Ramsey

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