Title: Velvet

Author: Bill Manhire

In: Sport 36: Winter 2008

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2008

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Verse Literature

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Sport 36: Winter 2008



The earliest deer had a number
and a name. And always when we called he came,
165, unlike those others in the paddock,
unlike the skyline or the failure
in the farmer's thumb, which slipped his mind
at some important moment. It is surely
the plural thing, pure need for company,
that makes us chant at the start of every story—
and in many poems, we say, the short line hides
within the longer. Now when they say velvet,
they mean blades and cuts, they mean this powder.
These days I spend my whole day planting trees.
For only a deer in solitude can be a 165,
can turn and be this other thing entire,
a great head watching from the wall.