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The White Deer, Re-enacted

in memory of James Thurber, fabulist

Dreamed 2009/3/2 by Wayan

In this borderwood, nets sweaty,
all our parishfolk stand ready,
Crown-commanded to treat as real
Thurber's animal-maiden tale

The White Deer. So we dog the wood,
though not to slay the fey doe; only snare.
But why'd our Ranger declare and proclaim
all White Creatures in our wood fair game?

We've only seen each other. Are we
white enough to hunt? Aren't we too dim?
Shade-hush. Of a sudden, wild and white
Creatures all leap free! In a sing-

le choreographic overspring
they vault the oak-limb labyrinth,
whelm us in a wave of shine
as neat as any mortal chorus line.

Grainy, heavily textured sketch of a narrow clearing in a deciduous wood, with dark silhouettes of people with butterfly nets. A line of white deerlike creatures leaps overhead. They're so roughly rendered it's hard to tell what they are. Deer? Unicorns?
Elegant willowy these White Beasts--
if deer
          then deer swiftdrawn
on paper rough as bark, in chalk--
(for chalk is all our Albion).
To our gloom-adapted eyes they shone
like lithe lights, unpinnable swift
blur-fish in this wood abyss.
Before we can raise a net,
they're gone.
                 Now what? Empty butterfly
hoops. I think "We've a long hunt yet."
As I ponder the pulse of their gleaming
ever-after-images, I
wonder who she is we sought to net.
And there ends my dreaming.


Sponged-in paintsketch of a dark wood. A white centauress light as a deer lands after a high leap.

LISTS AND LINKS: forests - hunts - deer - unicorns - centaurs - dreaming personified - spells and curses - transformation - responsibility - freedom and not - chalk/pastel/crayon vs paint and digital dream-art - dreamt the same night: Handmade Dimensions and A Squirrely Business Plan - an interview with a graduate of the Weird White Critter Program: The White Mare of Transform Ranch - England - two more woodsy hamlets on dream's edge: How to Be Happy and Pass the Vial On - Peter S. Beagle and The Last Unicorn - dream poems

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