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A Loaded Gun

March 24, 2021

35 of 40

My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –

In Corners – till a Day

The Owner passed – identified –

And carried Me away –

The last time I touched a gun I was 6. We target shot at Hackley Day Camp and I achieved the rank of Junior Marksman Second Class.

And now We roam in Sovreign Woods –

And now We hunt the Doe –

And every time I speak for Him

The Mountains straight reply –

But guns are everywhere it seems. More guns than humans in America. In the denser places they are virtually military necessities for some, in the more rural places, they are a cultural fulcrum like golf.

And do I smile, such cordial light

Opon the Valley glow –

It is as a Vesuvian face

Had let it’s pleasure through –

I have never golfed, fished, hiked, but I am surrounded by those who do. And, I guess by those who love guns. These other things may kill you with the kindness of simulated athleticism, but guns do kill, that is, essentially, what their value is – as a deterrent or as a tool.

And when at Night – Our good Day done –

I guard My Master’s Head –

’Tis better than the Eider Duck’s

Deep Pillow – to have shared –

We are left with differences every day. The bacchanals that killed thousands this summer, simply by breathing each other’s company. The drivers I see every time on a highway that do not care for their life – or yours. We kill each other without any sense of the miracle of our existence.

To foe of His – I’m deadly foe –

None stir the second time –

On whom I lay a Yellow Eye –

Or an emphatic Thumb –

But the power to knowingly end life, for no other reason than we can, is uniquely human. Trains were filled with those who shot at a running herd of buffalo, never even slowing down to see what was killed. There is only evil in killing because there is no agency or purpose but our own. God gave us this life, we are not the ones to end it. Easter is next week. But death is death for the victims of the evil.

Though I than He – may longer live

He longer must – than I –

For I have but the power to kill,

Without – the power to die –

Emily Dickinson

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