Friday, 6 February 2009

Deer in flight

I know that the record numbers of deer in Britain are causing concern, and over the last 10 years I have become aware that, from being a rare sight on my train journeys, I now see them from the train almost every time I travel, and not only in the north. Last week it was dark, so I couldn't look out for them but, on turning the last corner of our track before we reached the cottage, there was a young roe deer in the headlights. We often see them on the edge of the woodland that borders the track, and I may have mentioned here how indignant I was when they trampled my baby cabbages! The necessity for some sort of control does nothing to alter my pleasure on seeing them at close quarters, however.

When I read this poem, I see the hinds poised for flight on the edge of the wood, or ofJapanese paintings.

They Flee From Me That Sometime Did Me Seek

THEY flee from me that sometime did me seek,
With naked foot stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek
That are now wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themselves in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range
Busily seeking with a continual change.

Thanked be fortune, it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown did from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small,
Therewithall sweetly did me kiss,
And softly said, "Dear heart, how like you this?"

It was no dream, I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness,
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness,
And she also to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served,
I would fain know what she hath deserved.

Sir Thomas Wyatt


elizabethm said...

Oh this is one of my favourite poems which I had somehow not thought about for some time. Lovely to find it here. We don't get deer up here but I am similarly torn between admiration at their beauty and angst at their destrutiveness. They are murder for young trees!

mountainear said...

I am so envious of your encounters with deer - although if they came nibbling my vegetables I might think otherwise. I think one has been seen locally - but not by me. The little muntjac, which is said to be ubiquitous, has also avoided me.

I only spy rabbits from train windows - they are pesky enough.

GeraniumCat said...

I'm surprised you don't seem to have so many deer in Wales - now I'm going to have to note the furthest south I've seen them from the train! M'ear, the only time I've seen a muntjac in the wild was at Royal Holloway, in Surrey, where they are quite common in the college grounds - rather sweet and, I believe, good eating!