The story goes that a Brighton farmer, using a dead horse
for bait, hid himself in a blind, so, when a flock of crows
flew in, the sentinel, on a treetop perch, failed to detect
him. The farmer shot, killing several as they ate, and those
remaining flew straight up to the sentry’s post and pecked
him to pieces. This was from a trustworthy source
Jacob Farmer told Thoreau. And, although grim,
the story seemed borne out by another Concord farming
friend who told Farmer he’d cast a stick, hitting
some crows, and watched the birds fly up to a nearby limb
and beat their guardian into retreat. So, perhaps, a sentinel
who neglects to protect the common good pays a price
that decreases the risk of further, needless sacrifice.
Understood in a village where everyone, for good and ill,
knew everyone, and got others’ measure, earful by earful.
About the Poet
Charles Weld’s poems have appeared in many literary magazines (Snakeskin, Southern Poetry Review, The Evansville Review, Friends Journal, Vita Brevis, Better Than Starbucks etc.). Pudding House published a chapbook of his poems, Country I Would Settle In, in 2004. Kattywompus Press published another chapbook, Who Cooks For You? in 2012. A mental health counselor, working in an agency treating youth, he lives in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.
For the first time in nearly five years, Vita Brevis is closed for submission. Read the full story here.