.The Bloodless Sportsman.
by Sam W. Foss
“I go a-gunning, but take no gun;
I fish without a pole,
And I bag good game and catch such fish
As suits a sportsman’s soul;
For the choicest game that the forest holds,
And the best fish of the brook,
Are never brought down by a rifle shot
And never are caught with a hook.
“I bob for fish by the forest brook,
I hunt for game in the trees,
For bigger birds than wing the air
Or fish than swim the seas.
A rodless Walton of the brooks
A bloodless sportsman, I —
I hunt for the thoughts that throng the woods,
The dreams that haunt the sky.
“The woods were made for the hunters of dreams,
The branch for the fishers of song;
To the hunters who hunt for the gunless game
The streams and the woods belong.
There are thoughts that moan from the soul of the pine,
And thoughts in a flower bell curled;
And the thoughts that are blown with the scent of the fern
Are as new and as old as the world.
“So away! for the hunt in the fern-scented wood
Till the going down of the sun;
There is plenty of game still left in the woods
For the hunter who has no gun.
So away! for the fish in the moss-bordered brook
That flows through the velvety sod;
There are plenty of fish still left in the streams
For the angler who has no rod.”
This poem reminds me of my father. He would take my brothers out hunting, and they would never catch anything. This was a bit surprising, as he was known to have been a great sportsman in his youth. When he was in his 70s he admitted to me that when we take us out in the woods, he would make so much noise that it pretty much scared away any animals that wandered near. His rationate? If he didn’t shoot anything, he wouldn’t have to drag it out of the woods, nor explain to our mother why a dead carcass was hanging from the rafters of the garage.