Earth turns away

I promise I will stop writing this kind of message when middle aged men in camouflage gear with too much time on their hands between the day of retirement and death stop firing guns around my house, killing animals and birds that are a million times more beautiful and useful than they are.


Earth turns

while egrets stalk the meadow

with snowy strides

the house wreathed

in the woven

powdery blue flight of tits

red of robin splash.

Crows call in black voices

woodpecker warning

but nothing

not the sun

the golden leaves

no vast and quiet beauty

stops the echo

of gun death.

Earth turns.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

10 thoughts on “Earth turns away”

  1. Excuses? The animals deserve it? It’s practice for shooting something else? Beyond my family starves without the meat, there is no excuse. Of course, you know this. Your depiction of the birds is both minimal and textured. How do you do that? There’s a haunting aspect here–maybe the ghosts of fauna victims could be visited on the hunters.

    1. I don’t think animals would go in for revenge somehow. That’s where Animal Farm is so wide of the mark. We’re the great ones for inventing reasons to destroy things.

      I’ve heard (only from Americans) that argument, that men go out to kill animals to feed their families. It doesn’t sound honest to me. To kill a big animal you need to drive a big car, have a big gun, have the facilities to butcher it, a big freezer to store the meat in etc etc. How many truly poor people have all that? Why not just add a bit of meat to the supermarket list along with the popcorn and breakfast cereal and the sliced cheese? Don’t tell me these people are too poor to use the supermarket. In real poor countries people eat virtually no meat, they eat dried pulses and rice, grains, vegetables. They don’t get in their 4×4 and go off to shoot a moose. When we were bringing up our children we ate meat perhaps once a week, and a very small portion because we had very little money. We live in an industrialised, highly commercialised society. There is always food in the shops. No excuses.

      I describe what I see, and apart from the birds, the trees and grass, there’s not a lot else 🙂

      1. No, I think animal spirits would simply visit, nothing more. That would be something, though.

        I have worked with families who hunt for food, but I live in a state where hunting is popular (though I wish it weren’t). So maybe certain folk resort too soon to hunting when in need.

      2. Maybe they do visit and they are what we hear in the wind and water. It’s a nice idea 🙂
        I condemn people I know nothing about and I’m probably completely wrong about the way the poor live in the US. It’s a different way of life, I suppose, with different expectations. The poor here logically are just as poor as the poor in the US but I have never ever heard of people hunting because they have to eat. The cost of a gun licence, the cost of a gun would keep a family in meat for over a year.

  2. They want to shoot guns and kill, give them a uniform and send them all to an island somewhere to stalk each other. That would really be “sport”; at least the victims could shoot back. (K)

    1. There was an article in the local newspaper yesterday about a ‘hunt’ that made the hunt association look absolutely pathetically ridiculous to the extent that even their president described it as ‘carnage’. 84 hunters in a wild boar drive shot 151 animals using 300 cartridges. Their idea of a hunt is to round up as many wild boar they can find in the forest (they draw them to certain spots by regular feeding) drive them with a huge team of beaters to where the hunters wait in a long line, a couple of yards from one another. When the boar get within a few yards of them they let fly. You’d have to be blind as well as inept to miss. No skill, no ‘honour’, a pure massacre. And what do they do with 151 dead boar?

      1. Pathetic doesn’t even begin to describe it. Perhaps they need to buy some video games to amuse themselves, something that actually requires some skill.

      2. When you read about the wild boar hunts in the early middle ages when a small group of men went after a boar with spears, and at least one would quite possibly end up dead. Then this bunch! With their camp chairs to sit on to wait for the animals to walk up to the track where they’re used to finding food spread out for them!

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