October 13, 2012

I couldn't let the opportunity to post this picture pass me by...I absolutely love this photo of my mom and dad in the early seventies, getting ready to head off for a day of hunting.  What's so very funny about this picture is that my mom was NOT a hunter.  We are very much alike--books are our passion, not hunting!  But my mom and dad shared adventure after adventure together for fifty years, so here they are, ready to take on the day.  Here's a funny little poem about the bird who 'got away'....I hope my parents had better luck!

The Last Cock-Pheasant

R. C. Lehmann

Splendour, whom lately on your glowing flight
  Athwart the chill and cheerless winter-skies
I marked and welcomed with a futile right,
  And then a futile left, and strained my eyes
To see you so magnificently large,
Sinking to rest beyond the fir-wood’s marge—

Not mine, not mine the fault: despise me not
  In that I missed you; for the sun was down,
And the dim light was all against the shot;
  And I had booked a bet of half-a-crown.
My deadly fire is apt to be upset
By many causes—always by a bet.

Or had I overdone it with the sloes,
  Snared by their home-picked brand of ardent gin
Designed to warm a shivering sportsman’s toes
  And light a fire his reckless head within?
Or did my silly loader put me off
With aimless chatter in regard to golf?

You too, I think, displayed a lack of nerve;
  You did not quite-now did you?-play the game;
For when you saw me you were seen to swerve,
  Doubtless in order to disturb my aim.
No, no, you must not ask me to forgive
A swerve because you basely planned to live.

At any rate I missed you, and you went,
  The last day’s absolutely final bird,
Scathless, and left me very ill content;
  And someone (was it I?) pronounced a word,
A word which rather forcible than nice is,
A little word which does not rhyme with Isis.

Farewell! I may behold you once again
  When next November’s gales have stripped the leaf.
Then, while your upward flight you grandly strain,
  May I be there to add you to my sheaf;
And may they praise your tallness, saying “This
Was such a bird as men are proud to miss!”

From The Vagabond and Other Poems from Punch | John Lane Company, 1918

I hope you have some adventures of your own today!

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