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Out of the rutting, summer undergrowth,

a rasping roar… Saxons considered them

the mark of kings… Celts believed they were fairy

cattle, herded and milked by goddesses…


Though hundreds of thousands are culled or die

on the roads each year, we may have two million

wild deer because of autumn planting,

mild winters, new woodland and the death

of the lynx: ruminant, secretive,

destructive by default in residual

forests, on moor land, in the green belts

that join towns to cities –  the interstices

of haphazard copses and unused fields –

and in suburbia’s gardens and parks.


Driving slowly through fallen snow south

on the M40, we passed a Roe deer,

a hind, at the top of the embankment,

the ‘wrong’ side of the fence, picking her way

through the drift towards the Forest of Arden.




© Copyright David Selzer
3 Responses
  • John Huddart
    January 29, 2014

    A subtle portrait of a species that links us to the pastoral idylls of ‘As You Like It’. Our world continues to be ambivalent in its relationship to nature – are we of it? in it? against it? Even the courtly world of Shakespeare explored this. I find myself now thinking of the Bard commuting between Stratford and the South Bank on the M40!

    • David Selzer
      January 30, 2014

      I think we’re against nature – or, perhaps more accurately, we’re in denial. We build on flood plains, provide inadequate defences after the fact and take no account that water will always find it’s own level. Hence the Somerset Levels.

  • Mary Clark
    January 6, 2017

    It’s interesting how we mythologize animals and see the spiritual in them, and at the same time, cut down the forests and build on the meadows, and then are surprised to see them on our lawn or by the side of the road. I caught sight of a young buck when I was driving one early evening not long ago, standing very still, waiting for the traffic to pass. He was aware of us, but we…not so.

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