Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Something was Slain Here

Something was Slain Here

By Joseph Joel Keith

Something was slain here: deep in childhood's forest
deserted by the prodigal, a token
lies in the fallen twigs, in vines or branches;
lies with the birds' bones, with the arrow broken.

Still here the hunter, wearily returning,
ploughs through the dead leaves, hoping to recapture
something long sought, something that reaching fingers
never completely held with fullest rapture.

Hunter and hunted, onward and then backward,
circuitous or straight, the man again here
tramples the virgin growth; he bends, he trembles
as she lifts one small bone of the bright thing slain here.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Spring 1951), p. 94


Joseph Joel Keith was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and moved to Los Angeles, California, in the 1920s. He was a member of the Poetry Society of America, president of the Los Angeles, California, Branch of the P.E.N., and was managing editor of the Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards.

Return To TOC