The Hunting of the Deer

By Marvin Harold Cheiten


Enlightenment is Princeton’s raison d’être,
And love of Nature very much its rant:
Camping out or at a fête champêtre
Good Princeton folk would never kill an ant.

Anyone who drives a motorcar will
Feel the awesome sting of their disdain:
“You’re burning up the good things of the Earth, till
Naught but dirt and debris will remain!

We solemnly believe each living creature
Must be preserved – though humans fade away;
For all the species have some special feature,
And we are hardly sacreder than they.”

But then, one tragic day, our Princeton mavens
Discovered that their gardens had been spoiled:
No lions, tigers, walruses or ravens
Had eaten up the plants on which they’d toiled,

But deer, the gentle deer who lived among us
Had munched away each tulip and each fern;
Our neighbors’ doting nature turned to fungus,
Their loving souls became a lethal burn.

“Exterminate those beasts!” cried the Princetonians,
“And put ‘em in the ground where they belong.
They’ve eaten up our new-grown helianthonians:
How could our love of fauna be so wrong?!”

The Township government, it heard the crying,
And rallied to the townies’ righteous need:
“We’ll put those deer away, their fur a-flying,
And ne’er again on flowers will they feed!”

The government contracted its marauders
And said: “Eliminate them as you will.”
The hunters, hired from outside our borders
Dutifully did maximize the kill —

A total kill, with bolt-and-net precision:
A hecatomb of deer they gaily sought.
No mortal man, however vast his vision,
Could contemplate the carnage that they wrought.

Our joyful neighbors screamed with blood-soaked pleasure:
“Our beds are safe, the deer have bought the farm;
No longer will they eat our greatest treasure,
No longer can they do us floral harm.

But wait! Within the future that we fashion
There are no deer to kill: they all are dead.
On them we cannot vent our lethal passion —
So let’s rub out the human race instead!”