A poem by Chase Ambler
~ Reflection ~
I’ve always been enamored with the sight of wildlife in the cemetery behind my mother’s house. The dichotomy of lost life and thriving life in the same place always fills me with wonder. Night, of course, is the time when the mind wanders to thoughts of spirits and worlds beyond our own, so when I had to stop to let two gorgeous deer cross the road late one night, they seemed to me much less like deer and more like ghosts that had appeared from the graves themselves. This is the poem that resulted from that encounter. I imagined that each night some human souls are released from their rest and allowed to wander the night in animal form. Essentially this poem is about taking a step back and looking at ourselves and the unnatural way that we live. It invites you to view yourself through the eyes of the animals that live around us every day that many of us regard as a nuisance.
Though I wrote this poem over six years ago one thing I really love to this day is how the term ‘stag’ means to go alone. Yet in this poem the narrator is the one who is alone not the stags. Just as the deer outnumber the narrator it’s essential that we realize humans are but one species on the planet. I like the kind of reverse reincarnation that the poem suggests—not working your way up to human life through countless lives before but much more tangled, entwined, lines of lives going every which way throughout the species. I enjoy this idea of the connection that all life has to one another and that our hierarchy is arbitrary. Though we may think of ourselves as the rulers of the planet deer are the ones with natural crowns of antlers not us, birds master flight themselves—a feat we’ve long been jealous of—and many species have not needed to evolve in millennia because they are much more adapted to their environment than we are.
The next time you pass a graveyard, take a moment to stop and view the life there amid the death.
Chase Ambler is an American writer who spent his childhood in South and Southeast Asia. His life has been shaped by strange obsessions: heavy metal music, mountains, travel, and soccer. These subjects have all molded his poetry and prose in some way, but the birth of his daughter may have the greatest impact yet. He lives with his wife, baby daughter, and dog in Colorado. If one went looking for Chase, they could find him anywhere from changing diapers to summiting 14,000 foot mountains, but odds are he’s in front of the computer working on his next novel. Visit the FB page for his Novel: Snowsong