Thursday, August 4, 2011


Bowing to the Empress

Through the forest
through the branches
of shagbarks and walnuts,
through the feathers
of the February snow,
she flows
to her nest
of a thousand
broken and braided sticks,
to her chicks
yelping like tiny wolves,
like downy
emperors, for her return,
for her attention
for red meat,
and you know
theirs is a decent task
in the scheme of things-
the hunters,
the rapacious
plucking up the timid
like so many soft jewels.
They are what keeps everything
enough, but not too many-
and so you bow
to the lightning of her eyes,
the pick of her beak,
the swale of her appetite
and even to her shadow
over the field-when it passes
you can hardly breathe
the world is that bright,
your sense so sharply tuned
by the notion of oblivion-
those black wings beating
at the light.

Mary Oliver

1 comment:

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