I am a fawn,
I live in woodland and forests
and don’t mind a gentle stroll on a quiet moor or hill.
Grass, bilberries, heather
and tree shoots make me happy.
Mum hides me in thickets
—bracken can be prickly—
Mum says it’s safer
until I’m big enough not to freeze;
she barks if anything comes too close.
But she bleats to me.
My mum’s called a doe and Dad is a stag;
guess I am too.
My pedicles itch,
they’ll become antlers with soft grey velvet.
Dad’s velvet hangs in tatters,
he’s over there, rubbing it off
against trees and bushes;
Mum says it’s called ‘cleaning’.
Doesn’t look very clean to me,
the horn’s stained with sap and tannins.
My coat is spotted,
dappled, pommelled, it’ll change soon,
my winter pelt: red-russet-brown.
There’s a myth about us
living thrice the age of man,
nonsense, of course,
but it would be good.
When my belly’s full, I can eat no more,
so I ruminate.
I doze, I wake,
I doze, I wake.
Polly Stretton ©2020