Duck Hunting Poem by John Horvath Jr

HOOSIER DUCK HUNTING

Green headed beasts have few functions

In society.

The warm autumn

Migrations over the Little Calumet and the Kankakee,

Twenty-four birds flashing victory “V” in the sky,

Hundreds of reed-like barrels pointing heavenward.

The smell of the Little Calumet

With the hapless hungry stuck in slime,

The sewerage, the burnt flesh dried

To the hot, the deceptive slag of steel mills

Smoking, apparently swamp gas, morning haze

To a weary winged duck.

Ducks in the waters of the Kankakee

Visiting briefly where hounds pull apart

Bodies shot by three or more hunters

Who come annually to quarrel over mallards,

Canadians, often even swans, hawks and doves.

(Daddy, can I be a hunter? I asked

Long before the stench of war and empathy

For bewildered ducks bobbing in the waters

Of the Little Calumet and the Kankakee.)

There is a certain time, a certain reward,

A certain mystique in the killing of ducks

Not for food but for pleasure. It is a way

To demonstrate the natural order of freedom or

Captivity. The killing of ducks is allegory,

A lesson: were it not for the hunter, the hunted

Would die in the midst of its living–the weaker,

The slower, the lame and the halt, the sibilant,

The coward, the infamous would survive.

(Daddy, can I be a hunter? I asked

Long before the stench of war and empathy

For bewildered beasts bobbing in the waters

Of the Little Calumet and the Kankakee.)

No, son, my grandfather would say:

Green headed beasts have few functions

In society.

copyright John Horvath Jr

John Horvath Jr.
is a Chicagoan living in Mississippi, a disabled veteran, and a professor in literature and criticism. Since the late 1960s, he has performed his poetry in Munich, London, and across the U.S; his poetry appears in print (e.g. Nimrod and Antigonish Review) and online (e.g. Ariga [Israel] and Isibongo [SA]).
Links: PoetryRepairShop , editor, and his bibliography at [ http://www.horvath.ws ].
On writers: “I’m an eclectic reader: S.T. Coleridge, T.S. Eliot, and Dylan Thomas alongside Akhmatova, Juhasz and Petofi, also Whitman, Ginsberg, and Ferlinghetti. Favorites change over time.”
On writing: The biographical, not autobiographical, and social narratives are a strong influence. Plato said that poetry endangers the established order of the soul; I write from “inside the sinner” where poetry exercises empathy and sympathy, renders the observed more open to discussion, more human, and perhaps more dignified. My technique is sprung or ‘ruptured’ rhythm: ideas are written in pen, revised into traditional metric/rhyme schemes (not necessarily English), then revised into free verse/lyrical form.”
Recent Poetry: Ygdrasil, Moongate, Lynx, Charlotte’s Web, and Ixion.

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