Mobile Marksman

Personal Firearms Instruction

Marksman Poem


Parsing the shot

Linseed, walnut, oiled steel.
everywhere I smell a rifle's bark.

My stare stretches taut across meadow to target.
Sightlines narrow to a vanishing point.

Trigger's surprise: shot sledgehammers the skull,
ringing louder than the noonday sun.

Invisible bullet rides turbulent air. Echoes.
A hole appears downrange.

Round pool. Tossed stone ripples
from the center, just as it must be.

My shot goes where it will.  Let it go.
Mime the stone in the water.

The shot is over, now all is quiet. Momentary
mindfulness held within a blossom of fire.

Kari Prager
10/21/1947 - 11/14/2010

This poem was written by my friend Kari Prager - Also a target shooter.  This poem to me is about the experience of "The Shot" whether it be a thrown dart, a BB from a Red Ryder BB gun, an arrow, shotgun shotshell or a bullet fired from a target rifle.

Shooting for many is a Zen-like experience.  Being aware and "in" the moment is where the mind must be for target shooting.  The center of the Bullseye on the target is like a drop of water in a pool and the scoring rings are like the outward expanding ripples...

The feel of the rifle, the smell of the wooden stock's oil, the heat or coolness of the steel.  The rifle is an extension of you in this moment.

In this moment of complete concentration, of the right now, the shock of the recoil jars the skull as it is experienced, yet the shot and the moment are unaffected - They have happened.

Once the bullet leaves the barrel on it's way to the target it is too late to bring it back or make a change - You can affect it no more.  Let it go.  Move on to the next shot and experience a new moment of focus...

It is not a poem about violence or the use of a gun in anger but of the beauty of the simple, positive focus experience instead.

This is my interpretation of Kari's poem - He may think that I'm full of crap but I don't really care. There are more (or less) meanings I'm sure.  I really like it though and hope that he will give me some more to post.

Postscript* Kari Prager passed away 11/14/2010 due to a sudden respiratory illness.  Sadly, we'll have no more of Kari's poetry.  He was a great man, a real character, immediate life-long friend and a great marksman.  I miss you Kari - Thanks for listening to me, your encouragement and support for the Mobile Marksman!  Guess I'm gonna have to wait awhile to get that Free Pistol lesson from the master...

"Parsing The Shot" Poem is property of Kari Prager

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