The James Hearst Digital Archive

Home » Poetry » The Hunter

The Hunter

Text of Poem

You cannot kill the white-tailed deer
With tears in autumn when the mellow wind
Fingers the apples and pulls down the grapes
One by one from the cluster, blows the frost
On breathy mornings into a comet’s shape.

You cannot kill the white-tailed deer
With kindness no matter how your hounds
Worry them with affection, you will find
Trails through the empty woodlands like the bare
Patterns of their hoofprints in your mind.

You must be ruthless, hunter, and stalk them down
From behind the trees, in covert, blind and mire,
And slaughter them one by one as the hunter’s moon
Bloodies its face with clouds of drifting fire.

First Line
You cannot kill the white-tailed deer
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Music For Seven Poems, 1958.
Complete Poems
Hearst Collections
Word Count
Poetic Form
Bibliographic Notes

Last line: spelling of "bloodys" standardized to "bloodies" in Complete. Ward has no page number for original publication in Music.