Earth’s Loss

Ogborone from the book MASKE - art photos  © Phyllis Galembo

Ogborone from the book MASKE – art photos © Phyllis Galembo

It seems an annual vile masquerade
of camouflage that masks the great deceit —
to hunt is justified. By their intrigue
of luring forest dwellers to descend
into their traps, what they, in fact, desire
is pleasuring themselves by deaths to possess

the total aggregate the animals possess.
They claim they need their meat; but masquerade
their true intent, the festering desire
for more: gain power, conquer by deceit.
They don’t assess the cost as they descend
into blood lust while plotting new intrigue.

A few demented minds who use intrigue,
inflict great pain on creatures who possess
no natural defense to guns. Descend
into those psyches, strip their masquerade.
Their cruel methods reveal deceptions
enhance their want, their weapons, their desire.

Do they respect the creatures’ needs, their desire
to feed and shelter their own young? Intrigue
and dark designs may yield more deceit
as they, like men of old, who tracked, possess
some now unneeded skills. This fact they masquerade
as need before they take their young, descend

again to ritualistic haunts, descend
with cautious words as they’re the prey desired
by deer or elk. Sometimes they masquerade
while dressed in their dead furs, suppose intrigue.
The animals would plot demise, and would possess
outstanding skill, while using wild deceit.

These men presume their minds would craft deceit
like wolf, or bear or fox. This lore allows descent
to worlds of mythic times where they possess
more skill than they’ve acquired; when need, desire
made hunting mandatory by intrigue,
when their survival was not masquerade.

Through their deceit and mad-to-kill desire,
the hunters now descend through wild intrigue;
possess a madness through their masquerade.

© Gay Reiser Cannon

A Sestina – (my second) – posted for day 13 on Writer’s Digest PAD for April Poetry Month and posted for 4.15.14 for my friend Anthony’s prompt using Phyllis Galembo’s fine arts photographs. 


23 thoughts on “Earth’s Loss

  1. sad gay.
    i am not a hunter. those that actually use all of the animal
    i have little problem with. i am not a fan of trophy hunting,
    or luring animals into the hunt—no.
    i guess if we truly wanted to respect animal rights
    we would eat no meat, or anything made with animal by products.
    would def be tough. very pointed piece..

  2. wow…a sestina… i’ve never been brave enough to do one…
    a madness through their masquerade….hunting and being hunted… it’s not’s never… great take on the pic gay… you def. brought the different facettes to life..

  3. Sweet involved sestina; may have to use one as a prompt on MTB; if not already done once. Animals are not people, even though people are animals; we are carnivorous, not cannibalistic. Consuming meat perhaps is a learned activity, but the body tingles with the experience, harkening back to our hunter past. Like your points poetically though.

    • I am not a vegetarian. I have some issues with raising sheep, beef and chickens and other animals for food; however, we have an enormous population to feed, and farming animals is undoubtedly required.

      I draw the line on wild creatures though. We are devastating animals that we do not need for our existence — such as elephants and tigers. Instead of building more economically spaced dwellings, we are cutting down the forests that allow us to breathe. It’s insane. I think there is a reason to kill some overpopulated species; however I would rather not leave that control to hunters who cruelly build leases, feed the animals, shelter them and then those hunter clans take their friends and family to the lease and murder the animals they’ve fattened for the kill. It’s too gory and unethical to me.

  4. A very sober and sombre topic, but how wonderfully written – I love the sestina form and really want to try it myself now. I am not a vegetarian either, and it is true that there would be many animals lost to us if they were not farmed (you wouldn’t keep a herd of sheep, cattle or pigs as pets), however hunting… no. i do find it hard to get my head around it in our western society.

  5. A biting critique of a non alluring sport…I know it stems from so many past things, but this day and age we ought to be mindful of nature, what we teach out kids, that all life is precious..I see the weight on the deer, too.

  6. Goodness what a form Gay, so difficult to do but you have crafted a lovely one ~ Strong message here & I am processing the pattern of your verses ~

  7. I’m glad you posted it over at PAD, too… sestinas don’t come easily. This one’s very good as the end words down sound forced.

  8. Expertly crafted. Pound would be proud to have produced this.
    I admire the choice of rhymewords and the lavish use of enjambment to alleviate the restrictions of the form.

  9. i’ve only written one sestina (for a class) and it was the toughest form…this is excellent writing! I personally could not shoot an animal but there are too many deer around here…what to do?

  10. Bloodsport – and that’s why I’ve never quite warmed to Hemingway… there’s a bit too much glorification of the hunt in his works.
    Well done on a thoughtful, well-crafted sestina (not that I’ve ever attempted one) – the envoi especially seems tricky to me…

  11. I saw a PBS special on Mule Deer in Colorado where a man made himself a part of the herd and was devastated to see his small herd being hunted to extinction. Come on there must be another answer, y’all.

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