The deer statue has been resting on the Luzerne County Courthouse lawn, in Wilkes-Barre (pronounced berry), PA, since 1909. However, it was first placed in the city’s central area, where the old courthouse was, in 1866. That was a year after President Lincoln was assassinated, the Civil War ended, and Walt Whitman wrote the poem, Oh Captain, My Captain (all in 1865).
I wrote this poem from the persona of the deer, who never seems to complain. Since home cameras and photography became popular, people have been taking pictures of friends and family sitting on the deer. The photo I used is of my mother holding me on the deer, circa. 1947. Thanks to Sue for tweaking it to look mo’ betta here.
I Knew You When…
by Bill Reynolds
Oh, deer me! As you can see,
my time here’s been so long.
The Civil War was in the past,
all memories aren’t quite gone.
One year after Whitman wrote
his poem of woe, his poem of hope,
I came to this city, I thought quite pretty.
On Public Square, I stood so proud,
for twenty-four years, I knew that crowd.
In nineteen-oh-nine, to a new home I moved,
to guard this lawn where I now stand.
O’er a hundred years, as I’ve now proved.
Six generations I’ve watched them grow,
grands both ways I got to know.
Been standing here without a sound,
through floods and droughts upon this ground,
storms and disasters all around.
I’ve felt your touch and bore your weight,
There’s more to come, so here I’ll wait.
Bring your camera and your smile,
for here I’ll be yet quite a while.
I was here, you all should know
the day yer granddad stood so near.
I’m sure we’ve met, but before I go,
It’s me they call the Court House Deer.
Remember the past, look to the future, live in the present.
Mind the gaps and be well.