Before the nock, the feathers narrow.
It takes me hours to finish sanding
The shaft to leave the balance standing
As it should. I make each arrow
Singly, from the bodkin-tip
All the way to the well-jigged fletching,
Which I rig to keep from catching
The bowstring if your fingers slip.
That one’s light, and if you loose
It right, it ought to move with your
Release. For moving targets, or
For bringing down a dinner-goose.
See how this one’s wires extend
From off the head? It’s worth the cost:
You miss, they catch in shrubs. No lost
Expensive darts for you, my friend.
And here’s for practice, not for show,
Although the plumes are rather striking
And beech shafts color to my liking,
If you’ll forgive my saying so.
Ah, yes, the broadhead. Takes your breath
Away, the blades. You’re dead before
You know it—cuts your veins. For war,
And stags, and those condemned to death.
In fact, you know the Praetorine
Who just the other day was caught
At preaching cult in secret? Not
To boast; the arrows used were mine.
Will Begley was raised in Vermont and now studies Classics in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.